Graphic by Tommy Danaher '15
March was Fire Prevention month. The Wakefield Red Cross picked Fire Prevention as their focus for March. Fires can be so devastating and deadly that they need a whole month set aside to bring awareness for how to survive one. Not only do they spread rapidly, but can also stem from common household situations. Often the cause of a fire goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Veteran Chemistry teacher and Red Cross Club Sponsor, Ms. Gaither shared one of the most shocking facts she learned last month; “It takes 3 minutes for a fire to engulf a room.” With that small amount of time, it is important to know what to do if it happens to you.
It can be easy to think it won’t happen. Wakefield junior Stephany Escobar was the victim of a house fire at the end of last year. Escobar said, “We still don’t know what caused the fire and half [of the] house is now in construction.” She still remembers the smallest details of the day. She was having a happy December Early Release day, hanging out with friends at Taco Bell down the hill when she got the call.
“My mom was putting the baby to sleep and feeding her nephew when she heard the smoke detector. The baby was upstairs, my mom couldn’t see anything through the smoke, so she had to feel her way up the stairs to get the baby. It was so devastating…I didn’t lose anything personally, but my family did, which hurts me as well. My brother lost his whole room.”
The good news is that the house wasn’t totally destroyed. Escobar explained how her home’s location played a strong role in the survival of what’s left of the house. If they would not have lived as close as they do to the fire station, the whole house might have burned down. They would have lost absolutely everything. Luckily, location linked with the fast action carried out by Escobar’s mother saved lives and lessened the damages. #hero
To be a #hero like Stephany’s mom, just follow some simple tips if you are ever confronted with fire.
1. Stay Smart: Make sure you react quickly; exit the building as soon as possible.
2. Protect Yourself: If you are stuck in the house, place a wet rag over your nose and mouth. Close doors and cover vents to keep the smoke out.
3. Stay Calm: Literally, don’t freak out in a time of crisis! Call for help or escape from a window if the fire is between you and the door. Call 911.
Ms. Gaither said the Wakefield Red Cross picked Fire Prevention as their focus for March because it is time to check smoke detectors. If your family hasn’t already done so, you should check batteries and functioning ability for your smoke detectors now. This small step can give you the minutes you need to not be trapped in a room engulfed in flames. (3 minutes?)