When we are on vacation, the last thing on our minds is a fire. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike even during well-deserved time off.
Recently, a fire broke out in the home that a Maryland family was renting in Noyac while on vacation. Although the parents and their son were able to escape, their two daughters, 19 and 21, were unable to get out. They died later at a local hospital.
This tragedy is a crucial reminder that structural fires can happen at any time.
Whether entering a hotel, motel, Airbnb or even a friend’s or relative’s home, people tend to scope out where they will be sleeping or which door is the bathroom. They may even look for the closets or go to the kitchen first to see the refrigerator size or the oven’s cleanliness if they plan on preparing meals.
But fire safety should always be at the top of their priority list, even if it will only be a few days away from home.
Most people have learned fire safety and may take those rules for granted. We may believe that everyone is following those rules correctly, but the truth is some don’t.
While most hotels and motels must follow strict guidelines or face fines from local fire marshals, many in private homes may be a bit lax with respect to fire safety guidelines, even if their home is listed on Airbnb or similar websites.
Many don’t have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of their home. Others may renovate their houses in ways that don’t meet safety requirements, making it difficult to escape through a door or window in an emergency.
Taking a few extra minutes when first arriving at a destination can keep vacationers safe.
In a recent TBR News Media article, fire marshals agreed that everyone should check for smoke detectors and escape routes such as doors and windows as soon as arriving at a vacation destination, even when staying in a hotel or motel. And as scary as it may seem, jumping from a second-floor window is better than remaining in a burning room.
The Noyac tragedy should remind all, whether they rent out their house or invite guests into their homes, that they are responsible for those people. It’s imperative to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, check them regularly and ensure you have a door and window escape route in every bedroom, plus a clear path to escape options in the house itself.
Finally, it’s essential to take care when using flames while enjoying the great outdoors, whether in a backyard or park, especially during the summertime when it’s drier. Whether it’s a campfire, fire pit or grill, make sure you put the fire out before leaving an area. Just a tiny spark can produce a conflagration, causing tragedy and devastation in its wake, threatening human beings and wildlife.
Just a little bit of precaution and care can make the difference, and perhaps save a life.