The Fire Next Door

Posted on: 06/19/2014

Last Tuesday the air conditioner in my next door neighbor’s house sparked a fire in their attic. Thankfully, everyone was fine. Their roof is gone and I’m not sure of the full extent of the damage.

My family was in our back room at the time and didn’t hear the fire trucks. When I heard lots of noise and a voice over a bullhorn, I started walking to the front door and reached it just as another neighbor knocked to inform us of the situation. The first word out of my mouth was “S**t!” as all kinds of things started flying through my head.

Got to get the kids. What else do I grab? Crap, we still don’t have renter’s insurance! The baby just fell asleep, we have to wake her up. Why haven’t we gotten a fireproof safe for our important documents? How long ago did the fire start? I hope everyone’s ok. How did I not hear the trucks? I need a baby carrier, what if we have to walk far to get to safety? Come on kids, move it! Why don’t we have a plan in place? It would be all my fault if we burned up here because we didn’t have a safety plan.

All of this was a matter of moments of course as I told my boys “Go outside & follow our neighbor. There is a fire, do not wander off!” I quickly darted to the bedroom, shaking with adrenaline and trying to figure out what my next move was. I told my teenager to grab the baby & go, she had already heard what was happening. Then I stood there for a moment, frozen. Snap out of it, Jen! Get a baby carrier and GO! I grabbed my beautiful new (to me) Girasol Mysol, my phone, and water bottle as I darted towards the door.

A fireman was standing at the door (I had left it open). He asked if everyone was out & recommended that I shut off the air conditioner to avoid pulling in smoke. I thanked him for his suggestion and quickly shut off the ac before leaving to reconnect with the older three children. The neighbor who got us out of the house graciously opened his garage to us with chairs to sit on and toys for the kids to play with. After making sure everyone was ok, I called my husband to apprise him of the situation and asked him to come home. We watched the firemen working and the children and I talked about the different trucks (Engine, Ladder, Supplies) and equipment. Not long after my husband arrived, we were given the ok to return home.

This was a huge wake-up call! We have gotten our renter’s insurance, but there are still things I’d like to do in order to better prepare ourselves.

*Tour the local fire department. Getting to meet the people who did help would be nice, we’d get some good safety tips, and it would be a great homeschooling field trip because who doesn’t want to climb on a fire truck?
*Buy a fireproof safe
*Prepare a “GO bag”, a bag filled with items in case of an emergency that you can just grab & go
*Make a family fire plan, go over exit strategies, safe places to meet up, etc.

What has your family done to prepare for fires or other emergencies?


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