LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - What was seen as fiction for millions of viewers watching NBC's "This is Us" is actually the leading cause of home fires in the United States. Lubbock fire officials tell KCBD that the cooking equipment malfunction in the television show is more common than you think.
"There is always a chance that something energized could catch on fire, especially if it's old or worn out," Lubbock Fire Rescue Captain Kevin Ivy said.
It was a faulty slow cooker that was given to the TV family second-hand that sparks the flames in what many believed would kill a main character in the show. Ivy says that risk goes beyond just cooking equipment or appliances.
"If you have something like that, make sure to get that one repaired professionally or just go buy you a new one," Ivy said. "I realize at times it could be a little expensive to buy that, but it's a whole lot better than actually losing your life to save $10 or $20."
The fictional family also did not have working batteries in the home's smoke detectors. According to the American Red Cross, every day an average of seven people die from a home fire, but working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
"Make sure you check those monthly," Ivy said. "We recommend you change the batteries twice a year. Each time when you change time in the spring and fall, change those batteries."
The American Red Cross provides the following tips:
- Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
- Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
- Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
- Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Ivy tells KCBD you should be able to escape your home in less than two minutes and says to never go back inside.
"Be sure to call us and let us get there," Ivy said. "The faster we get there, the faster we can take care of it. Most of the time if you go back in, there's a chance you won't be coming out."