House fires can be scary, but, unfortunately, they can happen to anyone! By following the tips listed below, you can ensure your family will be ready and kept safe in the event of a fire.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practicing fire drills with your family can be a safe and effective way to prepare your family in the event of a fire. Go through scenarios with your child and role play what to do when they hear a fire alarm going off.
Gather your family together and let them know you're going to be doing a practice fire drill.
Explain that when the smoke alarm goes off, everyone is to exit the home quickly and carefully, and go to the “outdoor meeting place.” This can be your family's choice where you want your outdoor meeting place to be, such as in the front yard, by a tree, curb, mailbox etc.).
Have your family split up into different rooms of the house. Play the test smoke/fire alarm or a video on YouTube that plays a fire/smoke alarm. Watch your kids' reaction to the alarm going off. Prompt as needed for them to follow the steps of safely exiting your home. Practice, practice, practice. As you exit, yell "fire, fire, fire!" This will help ensure all occupants are notified.
Do not allow your kids to grab toys, valuables, etc. Practice like it's really happening.
Meet your family at your outdoor meeting place and review with them what actions they took when they heard the alarm go off.
What if the EXIT is blocked?
If the exit is blocked, this can be extremely scary for you and your family. Review the flow chart below with your family to prepare them for the event that several exits of the home may be blocked during a fire.
What to do if the exit is blocked? Find a window! If the window is able to open, climb out and go to your family's outdoor meeting place. In the event the window is stuck, review with your family what to do. Throw a chair through the window, climb out, and go to your family's outdoor meeting place.
What if you're in the upper level of your home?
Review the flow chart below with your family so they are prepared for a fire if they're in the upper area of the home.
Get low to the ground and get downstairs as safely and quickly as possible!
When to call 911?
Review with your family when to call 911.
It's important that your child doesn't go searching for the phone in the event of a fire to call 911. Ensure them during practice procedures that their first priority is to get out of the house as quickly as possible.
Once outside of the home in a safe location, then 911 should be called. Review with your child how to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
What about my pets?
Tell your family not to worry about your pets in the event of a fire. Leave the door/exit open after you exit.
The top priority is that your kids understand the importance of getting themselves out of the house safely and quickly.
Ensure that your pets have collars on them at all times. In the event they escape the home, they will be returned safely.
Tell your family that once you're out of the house safely and 911 has been called, that it's a firefighter's job to put the fire out and rescue any pets that were left inside.
Reviewing the fire safety checklist, the fire flow chart, and role playing and practicing fire drills at home with your family will ensure that they will be prepared in the event of a fire.
Please note, many kids are being taught "if there is a fire, call 911". This is NOT appropriate. Teach your kids that if there's a fire, GET OUT, and then once in a safe place, someone can call 911. It's never too early to teach kids how to respond to emergencies. Ensure they can respond appropriately, practice the skills, and review from time to time to ensure they remember what to do.
image taken from www.protection1.com/safetytips