Over the past few weeks, the NBC television show, ‘This is Us’, has effectively dramatized home fire missteps that can have deadly consequences. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says these dramatizations turned a spotlight on fire safety, a topic many think little about until it’s too late.
“‘This is Us’ showed viewers how characters’ actions and oversights led to tragedy and provides a powerful opportunity to talk about what can be done to prevent fire fatalities in real life,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
Increase in number of deaths due to home fire
Generating conversation and increased awareness around home fire safety is more important than ever. While the number of U.S. home fires has declined in recent decades, the likelihood of dying if you have a home fire has actually increased. This is largely due to the fact that today’s home fires burn faster, minimising the amount of time people have to escape safely.
In ‘This is Us’, the Pearson family made critical errors in escaping a home fire. First and foremost, no one should ever re-enter a burning building.
|Getting outside and staying out once you’ve escaped a burning building is among the most critical take-aways from the show"|
Never ever enter a burning building
“Getting outside and staying out once you’ve escaped a burning building is among the most critical take-aways from the show,” said Carli. “If a person or pet is still trapped inside, tell the firefighters where you think that person might be. Never ever go back inside a burning building.”
Carli notes that it is unlikely that Jack would have been able to re-enter the home, locate the dog and other momentos, and safely exit through the front door with the fire raging quickly.
Importance of smoke alarms
In addition, a home escape plan would have been a big help to the family, ensuring that they each knew how to exit the home as effectively and efficiently as possible. They also would have known to call the fire department immediately upon getting out.
Previous ‘This is Us’ episodes highlighted the vital importance of installing batteries in smoke alarms, as well as making sure cooking appliances are in good working order and kept well away from anything that can burn. According to NFPA research, the majority of fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.