Although Crock-Pot objected to one of its products being used as the cause of a fatal, if fictional, home fire, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says the episode of the NBC TV show “This is Us” depicting the blaze provides valuable lessons.
In the highly-rated drama, a defective slow cooker sparks a fire in the kitchen of a home that quickly spreads to curtains and then to the rest of the house. The family members are trapped in second floor bedrooms. Patriarch Jack Pearson saves his wife and children but later dies of cardiac arrest brought on by smoke inhalation.
The NFPA says the episode turns 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.
Today's homes burn faster
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, minimizing 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.
Get out and stay out
“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 mementos, and safely exit through the front door with the fire raging quickly.
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.
Smoke alarms vital
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.
For more information on these and other home fire safety issues, visit nfpa.org/publiceducation.