Hey friends! As we approach this holiday season, there is a sadness in my heart, and the hearts of so many people I love. On December 8 it will be one year since the day that the father of my two oldest children was killed in a house fire in his home. He was my ex husband. We were married for about 9 years, and although we divorced many years ago, and I am now happily married to a wonderful man, my heart hurts for this loss. My two children who I love so much lost their father that day. They were only 18 and 22 years old, and my heart hurts knowing that this is a loss and a sadness that they will carry with them always.
My mind frequently takes me back to that dreaded day that I received the phone call that would change the lives of my children forever. And to this day, we are haunted by the fact that the cause of the fire was undetermined. We will never know how the fire started or why he was unable to get out of the house. These are questions that will forever go unanswered. And it makes it that much more difficult to process and recover from this loss.
I debated about sharing these next two photos. This is the home of my children’s father, before and after the fire. I decided to share this because I think it is important for people to see that this is real, and it is raw, and that this is the reality of what a house fire looks like. Seeing the house both before the fire and after brings great sadness to his family and my children. It is difficult to see this.
In light of the loss that my children have been dealing with, and the fact that the holidays, and the one year anniversary of his death are approaching, I wanted to share some valuable information with you about how you can help prevent a tragedy such as this in your own homes and lives.
When it comes to potentially devastating occurrences, house fires definitely top most people’s list and with good reason. A house fire wouldn’t just endanger your life and the lives of those you care for most. It could also destroy the home where you’ve chosen to live out your lives together and make beautiful memories. However, while it’s not possible to guarantee you’ll never have to deal with the aftermath of a house fire at any point in your life, there’s quite a lot you can do to reduce the chances. Be sure to keep the following in mind.
1. Always Monitor Cooking Food
A whopping 50 percent of all house fires start in the kitchen, so it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to your cooking routine. Kitchen fires can start and blaze out of control much more quickly than most people realize, so always keep a close eye on cooking food. If possible, stay in the kitchen or very nearby while food is cooking, even if you’re baking something in the oven that may take a while. Never walk away from pots or pans cooking on the stove top.
2. Be Mindful of Heating Equipment
Heating equipment that’s misused or improperly maintained is the next most common cause of house fires, so you’ll want to be careful when using your fireplace, running a space heater, and so forth. (Space heaters are an especially major concern, as they’re responsible for up to 70 percent of all house fires that occur during the winter.) Never leave fireplaces burning or space heaters running unattended, and make sure flammable objects are kept well away from them while they’re in use. Always put fires out completely and turn heaters off before leaving your house or going to sleep as well.
3. Have Your Furnace Serviced
There are many reasons why furnaces and HVAC systems should be regularly inspected and maintained by professionals. Dust and debris can easily build up and cause fire hazards. Ducts can become blocked, obstructing airflow and causing your equipment to work less efficiently. Parts can break or wear out as well, and a professional knows how to handle all of those scenarios. Your home heating system should be serviced at least once a year, but people who also have air conditioning installed as well sometimes opt for twice a year instead — once before summer and again before it’s time to run the heat in the winter.
4. Keep and Maintain Fire Safety Equipment
Having a fire extinguisher nearby can make all the difference when it comes to a house fire. Place one in every room where a fire could possibly break out, and make sure everyone in your household not only knows where they are but knows how to use them. Smoke alarms should also be installed throughout your home, and the batteries should be tested often.
While no one likes to think about the possibility of a house fire robbing them of everything they hold dear, being prepared can drastically reduce the chances of that happening. Make sure fire safety is the priority it should be in your home.
Ever since that dreadful day last December, when that terrible fire destroyed the life of my children’s daddy, I have become hyper aware of the damage that fire can do. I always knew that on some level, but the fact that we were personally affected is such a horrific way has made me view house fires in a much different light. I want to do everything I can to make sure that something like this never happens to anyone I love again. I also want to do my part to educate people about how you can prevent a house fire in your own home. Doing what you can to prevent a fire could save the life of someone you hold very dear to you. Be safe, friends! And do everything within your power to keep your loved ones safe as well.