Deadly Fires Evoke Neighborhood Safety Checks

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January 27, 2023
Edward Smith

Fire Crews Install Smoke Alarms in Impacted Neighborhoods

Communities throughout Sacramento County have been struggling with tragedy since the holiday season. After three Sacramento area neighborhoods suffered four deadly house fires within two weeks of each other in December 2022, the Red Cross and Sacramento Metro Fire teamed up to help prevent similar tragedies from happening again and provide safety tips.

Fire crews and Red Cross volunteers went house to house in the impacted communities to install numerous smoke alarms for free, visiting over 200 homes in Rosemont, Rio Linda, and North Highlands. They also handed out educational materials and fire safety checklists.

Communities Struck with Tragedies

Sac Metro Fire said fatal fires affect not only a family but the entire neighborhood. They said a common thing they often hear from survivors is that they didn’t think it would happen to them or their own community.

  • In Rio Linda, an early morning house fire broke out, killing a man while he was asleep. Another house fire in Rio Linda killed one person while three others, including an infant, escaped.
  • In Rosemont, an elderly woman was killed at a nursing home facility when a lit cigarette started a fire.
  • In North Highlands, a fire ignited by an artificial Christmas tree killed a 22-year-old woman and two dogs. Investigators said there were no working smoke alarms in the home.

According to fire officials, 50 percent of homes do not have working smoke detectors, which is obviously a significant and avoidable issue. They said house fires are on the rise partly due to homes having more plastic-based materials than in previous years.

In the YouTube video below, KCRA 3 News explains why now is the right time for fire crews to perform a neighborhood-wide safety check.

Preparing Your House for a Fire

A house fire can happen anytime and often with little or no warning. If a fire starts, you may only have a few minutes to get to safety. There are certain things you can do to prepare your home and your family to ensure you can survive a house fire. The Red Cross recommends the following tips:

  • Make sure the smoke alarms work and check the batteries every six months.
  • Replace the smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Create an escape plan.
  • Buy an escape ladder for each bedroom on the second floor.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on each level of your home.

Creating Your Fire Escape Plan

If you have small children and pets living in the home, making an escape plan is essential in case a fire breaks out. Below are some suggestions:

  • Draw a floor plan of your home.
  • Identify two routes to escape from each room.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to open the windows and doors.
  • Designate a safe meeting place outside the house for everyone to meet.
  • Conduct fire drills with your family members every month.
  • Include your pets in your escape route and practice taking them with you.
  • Practice using escape ladders from the first floor.
  • Practice with lights out or blindfolded. The dark and thick smoke could impair your vision.
  • Practice crawling through escape routes in case you have to crawl below the smoke during your escape.

Your fire escape plan should include quick access to a cell phone and car keys. Consider keeping one car outside an attached garage and have a bag in that car with a change of clothes and shoes for each family member.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Being severely burned in an accidental fire can cause life-long complications. If a recent accident in Sacramento left you or a family member with devastating burn injuries, our legal team could help.

Since 1982, our Northern California personal injury law firm has obtained successful verdicts and settlements for our clients, and we can do the same for you. Call our experienced injury lawyers today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly, and compassionate advice.