Saturday, January 3, 2015

Home Fire Safety Tip

New Year's eve, there was a fire 
in a little town in central Oregon.
Three homes burned before residents
were able to extinguish the fire.
They are beyond any fire district.
Luckily, nobody was injured,
but what a loss.
One of the homes was an historic house and a bit of a landmark.
It did however, get me to thinking...
Some time back my dad told me that a common cause
for house fires used to be that mice would get to the matches
and chew the sulfur igniting the match.

Recently, I read that this is still a common source of house fires.
Many years ago, wall boxes were a common safe place.
There is an even better alternative:
those tin canisters that came with Christmas cookies in them
(that now hold only a couple crumbs) are perfect.
Our power goes out on a semi-regular basis,
and we have a wood stove
so we keep plenty of matches (mostly in a desk drawer.)
I hadn't really given it a lot of thought,
but the thought of a house fire is awakening to say the least.
We also live beyond the fire district.

We do have a generator and a water pump
so we could get water from the river even if the power was out,
but we have candles and matches in nearly every room in the house.
Needless to say they are going into tin cans, mason jars,
old wooden cigar boxes, empty candle jars (like below,) or any other
form of mouse proof container.
One other little side note.
I know a middle school teacher who has had to teach her 
students how to light a match.
We have gone from "Don't play with matches"
to "Don't touch matches."
If we teach children how to use them safely and properly as a tool
and not to 'play' with them (and explain why)
they will be knowledgable of and responsible with them.
If we teach them not to touch,
they remain ignorant of all of the above and are more likely
to sneak and play with them.

Let's start out the year on a safe footing.
P.S.   It's also a good idea to have a fire-extinguisher hanging around somewhere handy.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches


  1. In days past, wooden kitchen matches could be struck anywhere and light. Nowadays, they hardly light up even when struck on the side of the box, much less 'anywhere". They have changed the formula. Mice starting fires from matches is an urban legend, according to Snopes.com. They usually chew through electric wires in house walls and create a short, resulting in a fire. Nowadays, we use book matches as they light every time. We keep them in tins to protect them from moisture, not mice, lol

    1. You're right they have changed the formula. They are now 'strike on box.' The so-called green ones are even worse. I'm not entirely convinced about it being an urban legend though. I suppose it's partially which source is doing the publishing. I'm sure those little rascals have started plenty of fires from chewing on wires, but there are quite a few areas out here that didn't have electric until the 50's & 60's. Of course, I have no way to find out how many house fires were deemed 'mouse+match' but still figure I'd rather not find out the hard way.

    2. I love the idea of keeping matches in tins! I always buy strike anywhere matches the regular ones just make me mad! If I have to strike a lot of matches to get one to start, it annoys me and is a waste of money anyway. I love using candles for dinner and so I have matches . We have the click BBQ starters, but they don't seem to work very well either. I keep the matches in the kitchen cupboard and thankfully we have one had one mouse in our house over the course of the 20 years since we built it. I also have two fire extinguishers in the kitchen/living area where our fireplace is. Love a fire and candles, and definitely have a supply of the strike anywhere matches!

  2. how sad to have lost homes in a fire, so many things that can never be replaced but a miracle no lives lost. Not heard of mice chewing matches but it would not surprise me as they chew anything and everything.One got into my downstairs loo a few years ago and shredded up a roll of toilet paper, think she was trying to make a nest but I got rid of her with cheese and a trap, we have waste ground and they try and come in when cold not seen any for ages so hope they keep well away from my place, matches are safely away so they cannot be tempted.

  3. We still buy strike anywhere matches but they are difficult to find. This got me thinking though that if they are strike anywhere or even on the box, they can still rub together as they tend to fall out of boxes and we start digging through drawers. I think I will find something to keep them in.

  4. Great post especially at this time of year when people are making fires in their fireplace to keep warm. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  5. Great reminder! And I agree about the teaching of matches to older children, good point there (your common sense is appreciated by me :)!

    And using beautiful mason jars in the name of fire safety works for me!