*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Monday, 8 October 2012

Autumn and Winter checks save lives.

No one can have failed to have noticed that our Summer has come to an end and Autumn is upon us. The trees are losing their leaves and foliage is changing into its Autumn dress. Along with the change of season comes the lighting of the fires, but before either of the fires gets lit on our boat, I check and sweep both chimneys, I also check that the seals on the chimneys are in good order. Having cleaned the fires out, I then change or charge the batteries in the smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms, we have two of each at both ends of the boat. 
Why you ask do we have two of each?

Well if one fails, the other should alert us to a problem. Better to be safe. The alarms get checked regularly to make sure they are working properly.

So chimneys cleaned, alarms checked it is time to light the fires, at present we only have the back cabin stove lit, which not only warms the boat, I cook on it and a kettle is always on the boil, just in case we should have company.

More and more we are noticing that people are living on their boats with their fires going and have no or only one fire exit. All doors are fire exits as are opening windows, but more and more boaters are either covering, locking or blocking their escape exits. 
Covering a fire escape is such a dangerous practice.
Having a fire exit locked is even worse, because you are narrowing down your escape routes. Quite often boaters will stand things up against their front doors, such as bikes, planets and rubbish, this is blocking an exit. 

I know some will read this and think.

What has it got to do with me, boaters can do what they like with there boats, they live on them. But having known someone who died after having an escape route padlocked it is something that scares the living daylights out of me, every time I see it. If this posting saves just one life, I will feel that I have made a difference. Over this past few weeks I have seen it more and more. The gentleman we knew was only 52 when he died. If he had not padlocked his back doors, he would have survived, but instead he died from smoke inhalation. DON'T let this happen to you.

I once spoke to a lady who had slept on her boat with her back doors padlocked, and I asked her why she does it, she explained to me she felt safer with the doors padlocked, when I explained to her about the fact that she would have no escape from a fire at that end of the boat, she was horrified and had not thought about it like that. I met her recently and she no longer padlocks her boat when on board. 

I wonder how many boaters also have a fire plan. This is where you explain to others who may be on the boat what will happen should a fire break out. People on the boat should know where all fire exits are, where the extinguishers are and how to use them in the dark, because if the boat is full of smoke they will not be able to read the instructions. We can all think, oh it will not happen to me, but it does and it has. 

A boat does not take long to burn and so you need to know what to do.

If any boater is at all worried about whether their boat is safe, they can always ask their local fire brigade to give them advice. After all a little advice could actually save a life and it may just be yours.

Now that one of our fires is going, I will regularly clean the chimney, because chimneys can block. When we first moved on to the boat, I had lit our saloon fire as it was chilly, during the night one of the carbon monoxide alarms went off, so I got up but could find nothing wrong, I turned it off and on again and it went quiet, so I went back to bed. 10 minutes later the back cabin and the saloon alarms kicked off, it was at this point we knew something was very wrong, so got up opened all the doors and shut the fire down to make it go out. In the morning I did a check on the chimney to find it was blocked by a think film of soot, that had lodged itself in the chimney somehow. We had no idea how this had happened because it was a new flue and chimney stack, but it just goes to show what can happen. The alarms most definitely saved our lives and Paddy's life. We did not have Marmite then. 

Think carefully about your fire exits. Unblock and unlock them when your sleeping on the boat. 

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