Sometimes, tragedy strikes and we are powerless to stop it. The Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, California is one such tragedy. As the family, friends, and onlookers of such tragedy, we spend a lot of time attempting to identify what may have gone wrong. Was it anyone's fault? Was it intentional? Could it have been prevented? We may never know. Especially in a case like this, Oakland officials say they have not yet found the source of the blaze, and the answer may never actually be clear. This lack of an answer is upsetting and frustrating - to not know to the cause of 36 deaths is a nightmare. As we mourn the victims of this awful fire, let us think about what we can do for ourselves to avoid such tragedy.
1. Whenever you're in a new place, identify the exits. It takes ten extra seconds to find a potential exit, and it could save your life. Whether in a fire, an uncomfortable situation, or any other type of tragedy, knowing how to get out is something you should immediately identify.
2. Do NOT smoke inside. This is one obvious thing that can help avoid a fire. Smoking inside is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but in preventing a disaster, it's important.
3. Be wary of plugged in electronics that are hot. Things like irons, cooking materials such as hot plates, and even phone chargers can be deadly. Be careful not to leave things plugged in too long and make sure that they're not near anything flammable.
4. Be careful of open flames like candles. This is another pretty obvious one, but almost anything can catch on fire when put too close to a candle. Hair, clothing, etc., are all things that can potentially be way more deadly than one would think.
5. Trust your instincts. This one is a little more abstract, but if you think something feels wrong, trust that feeling. Leave.
6. Look up from your phone. Being aware of what's going on around you might save your life. Look up from the screen and figure out what's going on. You might be the one to stop a tragedy before it happens.
Remember that being alert and aware are not behavioral traits gone wasted. Save your life and the lives of others by knowing what's going on around you.