“This Is Us” spoilers ahead
Can we talk about it yet?
Has enough time passed from that fateful episode of “This Is Us“? Have we recovered enough to have real talk about fire safety?
Honestly, we’re not sure we’ll ever recover from Jack’s death, but we’re grateful he got the country talking about fire safety.
What can we learn from the fictional, but devastating, fire of “This Is Us?” Read on for actionable tips to take today — and find ideas for how to talk to your family so they’ll be prepared in case of a house fire.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
The writers of “This Is Us” really know how to do tragedy. Could Jack’s death have been prevented if the smoke detector’s batteries had been replaced? We’ll never know for sure, but we do know it’s high time for all of us to check our smoke detectors — like right-this-second.
More than 90% of homes in the U.S. have at least one smoke alarm, but many of those smoke alarms don’t work. And since the homes that are at the highest risk of fire and fire-related deaths and injuries are the homes that are least likely to have smoke alarms, it’s safe to say that smoke alarms save lives.
This can’t be overstated: Make sure your smoke alarms are working.
At a minimum, you should have at least one smoke alarm between the kitchen and the bedrooms of the house. There should also be a smoke detector outside each bedroom door. If you have two or three levels in your house, you need a smoke detector on each level.
We know you’ll check your smoke detectors after reading this article, but as soon as you do that, put a reminder in your phone or calendar to check your detectors every month.
Be Smart About Cooking
Of course, after seeing the cause of the Pearson’s house fire, we’re now all wondering: can a Crock-Pot catch on fire? The chances are small. Proper upkeep of the appliance, combined with proper use, renders the appliance rather safe. Be sure to always follow safety instructions for your Crock-Pot (and other appliances), but if they have a faulty switch, get rid of them. Similarly, check your other appliances and make sure they’re in proper working order.
Don’t walk away while the stove or oven is on. And keep flammable items away from your stove. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen to manage kitchen fires in a hurry.
In a Fire, Use a Wet Cloth Over Your Mouth and Nose
In “This Is Us,” Jack had Rebecca get some material wet for the members of the family as they escaped the fire. In that situation, when the family was dealing mostly with smoke, this was the right move. Put some water bottles in the closets of each bedroom in the house, and teach your children to douse their pillowcase or a shirt if smoke is closing in and they need to escape a fire.
Have an Escape Plan
The Pearsons were able to escape from Jack and Rebecca’s room because the fire was mostly on the other side of the house. However, it’s safer if every upstairs room in a house is equipped with a fire escape ladder. Put one in each closet or under each bed, and teach your children how the ladder works.
Don’t Go Back Into a Burning Building
This is one of the most emotional fire safety rules to follow. Once you’re out of a burning house, stay out. Jack chose to be a hero to save his daughter’s beloved pet and some family mementos, but he ultimately paid the price for his heroism with his life.
Designate a Meeting Place
Pick a meeting place that everyone in your family knows about. This is where each family member must go after escaping a house fire. It should be easy to get to and easy to see. A mailbox at the street, or the neighbor’s tree across the street are good suggestions. This will help you to quickly scan for all family members and know everyone has made it out.
Practice Fire Safety
Remember fire drills in elementary school? Fire safety at home includes running regular fire drills in your home. Think of the conveniences you won’t have in a fire, and run through those scenarios. For example, practice crawling on the floor beneath the (pretend) smoke with a cloth over your nose, and practice checking doors for heat on the other side. Practice running outside barefoot to the meeting spot, and have your children practice leaving favorite toys and stuffed animals behind. Have small children practice opening the windows in their rooms and crawling out (If they’re on an upper story, you can just have them practice getting their bodies high enough to crawl out). Show your children pictures or videos of firefighters in full gear so they learn not to be afraid of the people who can rescue them.
We hope you never find yourself in a house fire, but that you’ll be fully prepared if the unthinkable happens.