Guest entry by Common Cents Mom blogger Hollie Pollard
It is Fire Safety Week, and every time I think of fire safety, I am taken back to that June night in Hamilton, Ontario, when a fast moving fire burned the thirty-unit complex that I lived next to, down to the ground. Due to the proximity of the buildings, there was the real risk that we would lose ours as well. We did lose much, but I am thankful we were able to save some things as well.
We were awoken in the middle of the night, sleeping through the sound of the fire alarms and sirens, to firemen at my door. I grabbed my then 4-year-old daughter, her bunny blanket, and fled in our bare feet. The next couple of hours were a blur, as we watched the building burn to the ground, and the valiant efforts of the firemen as they tried to save everyone, including pets. Unfortunately, a young woman died that night, just feet from my daughter’s bedroom. Eight feet separated life and death.
We were not prepared for the fire, and when it hit, we only had seconds to respond. You never think in a fire how quickly you need to act. Many of us ran to the streets wearing whatever we slept in, not even thinking to grab wallets, purses or the like. I never planned for a fire. I thought I was safe with smoke detectors, and even had a fire extinguisher at the ready, but I didn’t have a fire escape plan. Ever since that night, we have one that is practiced, and yes, we even go through the windows.
A baby blanket is the only item that remains from the apartment fire.
That night, and the next 72 hours after the fire, the Red Cross was there. They handed me a blanket to cover up with, food and drink. They supplied a hotel room when we couldn’t get back into our apartment, clothes, and even toys for my daughter. The Red Cross was there in my emergency, and for that I will always be grateful. The Red Cross plans for fire emergencies and more, and I have had the chance in the years since to work along side them at the scene of several larger local fires. To watch the team in action, and the help they give in an instant warms the heart, and makes me want to do more to help.
Are you ready to lose it all in a moment? Are you ready for a fire?
Filed under: Preparedness | Tagged: apartment building fire, emergency plan, fire safety week, house fire, red cross | Leave a comment »