E017 - Save Your Own Life! Fire Prevention and Planning

This week on Across The Peak Rich and I are going to tell you how to prepare for one of life's calamities: a house fire. We also briefly re-visit our EDC bag episode, and talk about a listener who had the chance to use his EDC bag.

Intro Stuff

Rich’s Drink: Gotta Get Up to Get Down coffee milk stout from Wiseacre Brewing

Justin’s Drink: Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale from Mother Earth Brewing Co.

Cali Creamin.jpg

This show is a a listener request, so we’d like to thank the listener who wrote this in.

We’d also like to mention that a home fire is the MOST LIKELY DISASTER YOU WILL ENCOUNTER IN YOUR LIFETIME! We cannot overstate the importance of this topic!

Part 1: Prevent a Fire From Occurring

Electrical Appliances

  1. Ensure you're aren't overloading your home's electrical capacity.

  2. Use surge protectors on all your appliances. They are inexpensive, will protect your stuff, and prevent house fires.

  3. Replace any frayed electrical cords or ones with the ground pin removed. Cut them in half so they can’t be inadvertently “salvaged” from the trash and become someone else’s hazard.

  4. Don't cover electrical cords with rugs that can hide frays in the insulation.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons.


  1. Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher handy.

  2. Keep your stove top and range hood clean. If the hood vents to the outside of your house, ensure animals have not nested in the vent.

  3. Never, ever leave the stove unattended.

  4. Keep small appliances unplugged when not in use.

Kitchen Fire Extinguisher.png


  1. Clean out the vent regularly.

  2. Clean out the lint filter EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

  3. Clean out under and behind your dryer.

  4. Justin's Policy: never leave home with the dryer running

Fire places/wood heat/space heaters

  1. Make sure fireplaces/wood heaters/wood pellet stoves are installed IAW manufacturer recommendations and local code.

  2. Have chimney inspected annually BY A PROFESSIONAL.

  3. Don't burn green (and go easy on the pine) wood. This can lead to heavy creosote buildup in the chimney which can catch on fire.

  4. Use extreme caution with space heaters and other auxiliary heaters. Keep them away from furniture and don’t put anything on top of them.

If you live in wildfire country...

  1. Clear brush and other flammable material from around your house, including:

    • Cut your grass and clear debris

    • Don't store firewood where it can catch. Keep it in an enclosed location away from your house.

  2. Use non-flammable landscaping like rocks

  3. Secure your home's eaves and vent openings to prevent embers from penetrating the structure.

  4. Protect your home's roof from airborne embers.

    • Tile and steel are better than asphalt shingles, and

    • Concrete and stucco siding are better than wood.

  5. Put in heat-resistant blinds/curtains and non-combustible shutters

  • Windows break very easily in a fire, permitting embers to enter the structure.

  • Heat-resistant blinds and shutters that you can close can protect these vulnerable openings.

STep 2: Protect Life in the Event of a Fire

Have a plan!

  1. EVERYONE MUST KNOW THE PLAN! Only 26% of families have a plan and have practiced it!

    • Do you know your exits?

    • Have you tested your exits lately?

    • Does your family know how to get out?(Children and older adults are twice as likely to die in a home fire as the American population at large)

    • If the exit might require tools is one nearby?

    • Does your family know where to meet up when they get out?

    • If a fire starts, you may have just two minutes to get to safety. So time your fire drills and find out: what’s your escape time?

  2. Smoke Detectors. Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half!

  3. Fire Extinguishers - for more information visit http://femalifesafety.org/.

    1. Types of fires

      • Class A: ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, etc.)

      • Class B: flammable liquids (gasoline, etc.)

      • Class C: Energized electric equipment (computers, etc.)

      • Class D: combustible metals

      • Class K: Cooking oils

    Note From Justin: Immediately after recording this episode I bought two fire extinguishers: a Type ABC fire extinguisher and this kitchen fire extinguisher.

    1. Types of extinguishers - your fire extinguisher MUST match the fire you are fighting!

    2. How to use a fire extinguisher (PASS)

      • Pull the pin

      • Aim low at the base of the fire

      • Squeeze lever

      • Sweep side-to-side

      • Always keep your back to a safe exit

    3. Where to put them

    4. Maintaining/Testing

      • If the extinguisher has been used at all, replace

      • Ensure lever is clean/not rusty

      • Check the pressure gauge

ABC Fire Extinguisher.png

Part III: Protect Your Stuff

  1. Insurance! You need to have insurance!

    • Homeowner’s insurance

    • Renter’s insurance

    • Valuable Personal Property Policies

  2. Safes

    • Look for an independent rating from the UL or ETL-Intertek! For full details on fire-safe ratings visit www.amsecusa.com/fire-ratings-explained/#

    • You may also want to make sure your safe is waterproof.

    • Consider the physical placement of your safe:

      • Higher floors will be hotter in a fire, and

      • Create a safety hazard if the fire burns through the floor below the safe.

    • Also consider a media cooler. The interior of the safe will not protect digital media! Remember, a media cooler MUST BE PLACED INSIDE A FIRE RESISTANT SAFE to be effective!

  3. Offsite backups for data

  4. EDC Bag

Book of the week

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

See also Michael Pollan on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

Affiliate Disclosure: Across The Peak uses Amazon Associates to earn a small commission when you click Amazon links on our site. We are also affiliates with Private Internet Access, and receive a small commission when you subscribe. This helps to support the blog and the show.

Justin Carroll