You watch "This is Us," right? (If you don't, get on that, will you? It's so very good.)
If you do watch it, then you know (SPOILER ALERT) that Jack, the beloved father figure of the show, SEEMS* to meet his untimely demise at the hands of a house fire (!!!) caused by a faulty switch on a Crock-Pot—er...slow cooker.
If you don't watch it, you know all that anyway, because I just told you.
*technically, at this point, we haven't actually seen it yet. So, you know, anything could happen. #dontprematurelyblamethecrockpot
Now, there has been some serious response to this all-important television revelation.
I've seen several posts on Facebook from people who are concerned about their own slow cookers.
Crock-Pot issued a statement outlining the electrical elements in the Crock-Pots and the testing done on them before they're sold to consumers.
And through it all, I'm just over here like, "FORGET THE SLOW COOKER. BLAME THE (LACK OF) BATTERIES!"
Because I have something to tell you that is very important. Are you listening?
Here it goes: a house fire doesn't have to be the worst thing that could happen to you.
It COULD be the worst thing that could happen to you, because if you aren't ready for it, you could end up trapped in a burning house. This is a very bad thing. (If you need a reminder on what can happen to a house in just a few minutes, look at this post.)
BUT. You have to know something. Your stuff is just your stuff. Think of the most precious "thing" you have. Is it 1/10000th as precious as the people in your home? No.
You could lose every photo in your house. Every yearbook. Every favorite piece of clothing. Every Christmas ornament. Every computer. Every sentimental trinket handed down from your great-grandmother. Every home video. Every antique furniture piece. Every "thing." And you would be okay—more than okay—as long as you and your loved ones were safe.
It would be really hard. But you would be okay. I promise. I PROMISE.
And here's the thing: a house fire can be caused by any number of things, many of which would be a complete accident and entirely out of your control. Things that you never saw coming and wouldn't be able to stop.
Sure, there are preventative steps you can take. The firefighters told us that the most common causes of house fires are bathroom fans (also in laundry rooms) that run too often, for too long, and food left unattended on the stove or in the oven. So yeah, be smart about things like that. And the classics (towels on the stove, matches/candles around kids, etc.). Here's a great list of steps you can take to prevent house fires. Obviously, prevention, where possible, is awesome. But it's not always possible. You can't always keep bad things from happening to you.
But before you throw out that Crock-Pot (and all your cell phones, TVs, toasters, stoves, a/c units, clothes dryers, and literally anything and everything with a switch or electrical component in your home), take some time instead to be READY for a house fire, so you can, at the very least, protect what is most important in your home—the people living there.
In short, don't be scared. Be ready. Here's how.
Make sure you have working smoke detectors. You all know this, right? A smoke detector will save your life, but it needs to work. Check the batteries every 6 months, and if they aren't working, change them right away. There are also fancy smoke detectors nowadays that will send alerts to your phone if they go off, so you can be alerted no matter where you are.
Get out. Right away. Once you know there really is a fire, I'm really sorry, but you don't have time to grab things, even if you think you do. It doesn't matter what it is. Don't think twice about it. Just get everyone out. I realize this sounds dramatic, but this is a life or death situation, so...it is dramatic.
Know your escape routes. A door is always going to be your fastest way out. If you can get there, get there. If you have areas of your home where you are regularly (like your bedrooms) that are far away from an exit door, make sure there's a window that can open all the way (if there isn't, it really shouldn't be used as a bedroom). Make sure kids know how to open the windows and remove any screens or other coverings. And if the rooms are on the second story, get ladders (still on my to do list, I'm embarrassed to say), and make sure everyone knows how to operate them.
Make a plan, and go tell somebody it. (10 points if you get that reference.) Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go in case there's a fire. This includes all those things from fire safety classes in school (get low; touch the doorknob to see if it's hot; stop, drop, and roll, etc.). Kids need to know what the alarm sounds like, where they should go to try to get out first, and where they should go to try to get out second. Older kids should know how to work a fire extinguisher, but they should also know WHEN to work a fire extinguisher, and when to run away. You should also have a meeting place a safe distance away from your house.
I realize this is largely common sense. I know this is all stuff you've heard before. But I have no problem with saying it again because dang it, it's important to me. I have been kept awake at night, on more than one occasion, because I'm terrified that any part of my house might spontaneously combust at any moment. But then, I've been comforted, on more than one occasion, because I know that even if that were to happen, I would know what to do. I mean, I'm no expert, but I have done it before.
Anyway, I hope this taught you something, or made you think, or AT LEAST convinced you to start watching "This is Us." Either way, I'm headed to Amazon to buy some ladders.
Stay safe, my friends.