As a former fire captain in the Salt Lake City area I offer the following advice:
1. In an emergency dial 911 FIRST. As calmly as you can, make sure your 911 operator has the nature of the emergency, your name, address and phone number. The 911 operators are professionals and under stress yet know how to walk you through the best way to handle the emergency. Stay on the line until you are convinced the situation is under control.
2. A home alarm system is highly recommended.
3. Check smoke detectors at least every three months and replace batteries if needed.
4. Have a family emergency escape plan in case of fire, break-in or unforeseen disaster. Include a safe haven if, for whatever reason, you cannot return to your home. Also, identify a person to contact or location to meet outside of your home if you cannot reach each other. Then practice escape plans with your family and possible guests.
5. If you have a swimming pool, you may need some training to prevent drowning. Do not give up on a drowning victim. Call 911, then make sure the victim’s airway is clear of debris or water. Getting air into the lungs is critical. When performing mouth-to-mouth, be careful to not force a full breath to an infant or anyone with small lungs. Take a breath and then let half of your air out before forcing too much air and pressure. Contact your local fire station for some training and advice. Firefighters respond to drownings and save many lives.
6. Start a Neighborhood Watch program. Neighbor-to-neighbor is the best way to keep our community safe and one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors.
7. For personal protection, ask a police officer for firearm laws and where to get proper training. Our men in blue are great friends to have in our neighborhood.