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Thread: Ideas On what you would do if your cabin caught fire?

  1. #1
    Member SuYentna Dave's Avatar
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    Default Ideas On what you would do if your cabin caught fire?

    Springtime in Alaska is primetime for a cabin to catch fire from the winter worth of creosote on the outside of the chimneys, Fires turn down causing them to burn cooler, which generates cresote, adding to the chance of chimney fire.

    A lot of people I know don’t have a contingency plan in case they had to evacuate in the middle of night. It an awful thought but I know it does happens.

    I store emergency sleeping bags and old snow machine suits in a shed protected in a heavy plastic box with socks, first aid kit and a survival flashlight (the type you windup for the power source).

    I also put my fire extinguisher by my bed, not by the front door. I might just need it to fight my way to the front door.

    There are lots of ideas, some from experience. Let’s share so others don’t have to get the “experience” without the hard knocks.

    Good maintenance is essential but a good discussion helps all and I might learn a thing or two.

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    I have 3/4" nylon ropes connected to eye bolts adjacent to the windows in the loft. Jumping from a second floor window doesn't appeal to me. Slipping down a big rope sounds better.

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    Member trapperrick's Avatar
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    Default Be Prepared

    Dave I've thought about this very thing. Anyone that lives in the bush - especially if it's remote, needs to heed this advice. I think having the fire extinguisher next to the bed is a great idea. Also, having several smoke detectors would give you a lot of warning if fire broke out and possibly save your life. That would suck to have to hoof it 5 miles in your skivies at 20 below.

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    I always have a pot of water on the wood stove, a fire extinguisher next to the wood stove , one in the kitchen, a balcony upstairs to get out of the house. A small guest cabin has sleeping bag and clothes, plus propane heat for a quick warm up. But before all of that comes keeping your flue system dress right dress. Brushing the flue on a regular basis, checking all parts of the flue for loose connections, or leaking that would indicate problems.
    I also have two smoke detectors, one downstairs and one upstairs.

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    Default Great Thread!

    Eye bolts with ropes attached stored inside the operable windows in the upstairs loft. Now why didn't I think of that? Great simplicity. Woudn't hurt to tie in some knots at equal distance...

    Didn't have the fire extinguishers by the beds yet, either.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up.

    The points so far learned from this have already made me rethink my readiness for fire. Which I thought was already sound. And I now know is totally inadaquite ( sic ) and must be completely revisited.

    Sleeping bags, blankets, socks, candles, etc. in a Catasophy Ready Bag is another good thought.

    Man, this is good-- I don't even have to do THINKIN' anymore, myself...

    Ya' Think?

  6. #6
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning the pipes

    I clean the stove pipes every two months. Weather doesn't matter, clean the pipes. Replace them everyother year.

    Fire or not, tsunami, earth quake ..... invading Russians, women from EHarmony. I have a tote with 6-7 days of Mountain House, sleeping bag, change of clothes, a stove, ....... and a bunch of other stuff. Ya just never know when ya gotta go.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

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    Member trapperrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    ...women from EHarmony.
    LMAO!!!!!!!! Can you use that and "cleaning the pipes" in the same thread?

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Exclamation Photoelectric smoke detectors

    Let me add a very important point that most don't even think about... get a PHOTOELECTRIC smoke detector! They cost a bit more (typically $20-30), but they are the ones that can save your life. I would also buy a model that has a silence button, so you can kill a false alarm from burning the biscuits without removing any batteries.

    Those little $9.99 Ionizing detectors are designed to detect fast flaming fires. They do not detect the smoke that is created from a smoldering fire until it gets pretty thick. Most residential fires, especially those related to wood heating system failures, are of the smoldering variety. These fires smolder for a long time before they will activate an ionizing detector. In an open cabin layout, you could die from smoke inhalation in your sleep before the detector sounds. You should have at least one of each type of detector on each floor, including in or near the sleeping areas. There are some fancy models available that have both types of detector built into the same unit.

    Don't forget to change the battery on your birthday or when you change your clocks off of daylight savings time. Alternatively, install one of those 10 year lithium batteries and you'll never have to worry about it. Write the date the detector was installed and also write the install date on the battery. Ionizing detectors use a radioactive element that is only good for 10 years, so you have to replace the whole detector every decade.

    Finally, practice your escape plan. If you've set up something like ropes bolted up by the window, make sure you actually go through the process of climbing out the window and getting down via your escape method. Every member of your family needs to do this. You don't want to learn that something doesn't work at 2am with your house on fire.

    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  9. #9
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by trapperrick View Post
    LMAO!!!!!!!! Can you use that and "cleaning the pipes" in the same thread?
    Usually the pipes get cleaned and so does the wallet. No more marriages until after sheep season.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  10. #10

    Default cold smoke dectectors

    I have often wonder just how good are the smoke detectors on the first night you arrive at your cabin. My in side temp recording has been -20 to -40 during the time We have been away and the smoke detector is screeching. We get in late some times built afire ,eat and go to bed. After temps in cease the smoke detector appears normal . These are not cheap detectors,they also have carbon monoxide detectors .lords knows I got to much co in my blood now!!! Smoke detectors get fresh battery's biannually, How about the photo cell detectors in the cold?
    Hay Dave got any spare rivets?Just kidding!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Good question. Most detectors are rated for use in heated dwellings at temperatures of 40°F to 100°F. The exact ranges vary slightly between manufactures, but I can't find any rated for below freezing, let alone below zero. I truly doubt that anyone has studied what affect, if any, that periodic temperature cycling to below operating temperature might be. As the detector is a pretty simple electro-mechanical device, I would guess that as soon as it warms to above its operating temperature, it will continue to operate correctly. But I couldn't say that with authority, it's just a hunch.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by RUSTY PUPPY View Post
    I have often wonder just how good are the smoke detectors on the first night you arrive at your cabin. My in side temp recording has been -20 to -40 during the time We have been away and the smoke detector is screeching. We get in late some times built afire ,eat and go to bed. After temps in cease the smoke detector appears normal . These are not cheap detectors,they also have carbon monoxide detectors .lords knows I got to much co in my blood now!!! Smoke detectors get fresh battery's biannually, How about the photo cell detectors in the cold?
    Hay Dave got any spare rivets?Just kidding!
    If bears were about, that screeching might not be a bad thing in stead of coming home to a bear thrashed cabin.

    I'd bet the screeching has something to do with the cold temps and the batteries. The cold makes the batteries draw down a bit maybe because of the temperature, which makes the smoke detectors think the batteries are going out. You toast the cabin up with the stove, and the batteries operate normally and the detectors thinks alls well as a result.

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    Default Bingo!

    Bingo, Upstream!

    That's exactly why the detectors are screeching. Common malady with very cold batteries--not necessarily worn out yet, just reduced voltage...

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    I was in a cabin that cought fire in the middle of the night it was about thirty years ago. They had no detectors back then. We was in the loft when it happend and the dog woke us up from downstairs. we made it down the latter and the smoke was real bad but no flames. we made it to the door and when we opend it the air made the sleeping bag that i was trying to dry out by the wood stove burst into flames. We was able to drag the bag outside it was 30 below and the cabin was full of smoke. we were in our skivys. it wasnt fun. Everything turned out fine but since that happend Ive lernd alot. The cabin that i have now has a regular door upstairs and a small deck to get off of and two good fire ext, Extra sleeping bags and first aid in the shed. It realy makes you think being in a loft with no way out could be real bad. even a big window with a rope would be great.

  15. #15
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    The biggest step is prevention. Yes, I know that Metalbestos or Excel chimney pipe is expensive, but it's way better than cheaping out and running single wall up through the roof. Installing a chimney with proper clearances, install the stove on a non-combustable floor and clearances, etc.. can go a long way to living a long life.

    Amen on the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

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