Thursday, September 29, 2011

PSA: Doorways & Floorways

I firmly believe that emergencies in the middle of the night are a true possibility. Therefore one must take all necessary precautions to create an unobstructed emergency escape route. In a 1000 square foot home, housing four children, three dogs, two adults and one bathroom, and all the stuff associated with each, this can be a challenge.

    The vacuum for instance, usually keeps watch outside the hall way closet door. It can’t be too far to the right or the left because then it hovers on the verge of blocking the door way on either side of it. It must be perfectly centered. Doorways must be cleared nightly to create a clear path of exit.
     My oldest son closes his door to sleep at night. However, the door only opens partially due to an assortment of random laundry items behind the door. I rarely enter into the man-boy cave he shares with his middle school aged brother so I can only imagine what lies beyond the great divide. The idea though, of not being able to open the door freely can send me into a dizzy rage of midnight emergency scenarios!

    “Ern!” I push against the bedroom door as far as it will go. The door pushes back.
    “What.” the man boy sighs.
    “Ern! I can not get this door open.”
    “Look. It opens.” He rolls his eyes as I shove my body into his realm.
    “No, it doesn’t. This is not acceptable. If there is an emergency and you need to get out quickly...what! What are you going to do then? huh?” It’s only the beginning of the rant he’s heard many times. “Why do we keep needing to have this conversation?”
     The door is not blocked from opening, just opening ALL the way. My sons are skinny, it’s not like they can’t fit through it. Their room also contains two windows if escape were ever truly necessary. I have never experienced a midnight emergency requiring me to run out but that is not the point.
    Shoe in the doorway: tripping hazard.
    Towel casually tossed: slip and fall.
    Lego: stabbed foot causing a delayed exit.
    Doll: twisted ankle.
    One person could fall blocking all other persons from exiting the area. This is serious escape route business, not to be taken lightly. If you need to exit the home in an emergency, all exits need to be clear of debris. Imagine a fire in the middle of the night, it’s dark and you’re groggy. You probably won’t remember that you dropped your slippers next to the bed and need to step over them. Instead, you will jump up and as you put your foot down and pivot to run out of the house half dressed, you will slip!
    Speaking of half dressed, one should never, under any circumstances, sleep in the nude. It won’t be sexy when your house is on fire and you have to make a death defying leap out of your bedroom window and land on the rose bushes below. You might think keeping a robe on the end of the bed is the solution to this dilemma. Until... you kick in the middle of your restless sleep, jump up because you’ve been awakened by an earthquake that has shaken your gas pipes loose, causing a leak that suddenly bursts into flames when the deadly gas comes in contact with the sensual candle you left burning after an evening of late night sexcapades, and can’t find your robe because it has become entangled in the sheets and blankets of your bed.
     I once knew a girl who’s downstairs kitchen caught on fire. She was sleeping in her room above and had to make a quick exit via an upstairs window. It was the talk of the neighborhood for weeks how she didn’t have any underwear on under her tight blue jeans she had barely enough time to throw on. We had to evacuate our condo for the same incident. My brother spent the entire morning in his underwear holding a welcome mat around his waist.
    Don’t be a statistic! Always be prepared for an in home emergency. Clear door ways and wear real pajamas. BE PREPARED!

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