Miss Tracy presented this topic on The Modern Parent! Click here to watch her episode, which aired on The Rhode Show.
Fire safety is talked about in schools, childcare, afterschool programs and so on. How often is fire safety discussed at home? Do you and your family practice fire drills, where would you go, how would you make sure everyone is out of your house ok? Do you have pets? A lot of families may bring it up and discuss in passing when you change batteries in the smoke detectors; but do you really sit down and discuss as a family what if? Here are some tips and things to think about and put a plan of action in place to keep you and your family safe. Fire doesn’t just happen in the school or at night it can happen at any time. Being prepared might just save you and your family’s life.
Making a fire escape plan
First, you want to draw out the floor plan in your home. It can be as simple as making blocks on a piece of paper and name each room. Kitchen, babies room, Steven’s room, master and so on.
Next, you want to make sure there are two exits out of each room. If fire was blocking the main exit out of a particular room, how will you or your children get out? Do you have fire escapes, or a fire ladder that attaches to a window and drops down, you want to make sure that if you don’t have any of these items can you drop your child or yourself safely to the ground. If you cannot drop your child safety to the ground you may want to think about purchasing a ladder.
Lastly, agree on a safe meeting place. You need to have a meeting place outside your home for a couple of reasons. If you cannot get to one of the rooms and a family member is already out of the house. If somehow you get split up on the way outside, this is a place where everyone can gather and know everyone is safe. This place should be close enough to your home, but not close enough where anyone can get hurt. You want to make sure that your meeting place is in front of your home so when the fire department arrives they can see you. Your place should be easy to find in the day or night. Your meeting place should be clearly marked and not an object that can be moved.
When designing your fire plan, make sure to include your pets. Adding pet stickers to your windows in case of a fire when you are not home, emergency personal will know there are pets in your home. If your pet is acting strange making noise in the middle of the night get up and investigate. Pets have a keen sense when danger is near. Listen to them it might save your life. Remember if your pet is in a crate it may be hard to get them during an emergency. Having a plan for your faithful companion is a good idea.
Tips to remember
Making sure windows open with ease, that they are not stuck or nailed down. That screens can be removed easily and that security bars can be opened. If your child is old enough they should be able to complete these tasks in case of an emergency.
Practice having your children including yourself feeling around the house in the dark or with their eyes closed. If your home was on fire and consumed with smoke, it will be very difficult to see anything. By practicing this task your family will have a very good idea how to get around in the dark if you lost electricity during a fire. Children will have fun practicing this but most of all will be able to identify ways out of their home in the dark and or on the floor.
Teach your children about smoke detectors, why they are installed. How they work, what to do if they hear it go off. Even if it is by accident. Most families smoke or heat detectors will go off when cooking and nobody moves or does anything. Tell your children even if they go off by accident still follow the drill. Change the batteries in your detectors twice a year. A great way to remember is when you change your clocks forward or back.
Teach family members how to check doors. How to feel if the door is hot find another way out. Putting a towel or clothing over face to protect their face from smoke or fire.
If their clothing were to catch on fire teach them to stop, drop, and roll. Many injuries can be avoided by doing this.
If you have children or adults with disabilities you want to make sure you add this into your plan. Who or how will you get them out safely.
The key is to remember to have a plan out of your home with two exits out, have a meeting place outside the home, and practice fire drills. Many families discuss this but never do it, don’t wait until something happens to have a discussion with your family. Ask your child’s school or child care if they have any tips or your local fire department. It’s worth to be prepared and safe rather than sorry. October is fire month great time to start practicing.
Tracy Martin-Turgeon has been in the field of early childhood education for 22 years. She started with The Children's Workshop in September 1999 as an assistant director for and has since served as director, regional, and currently as a VP regional overseeing seven facilities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Early Childhood education from the University of RI. In her role, Tracy enjoys most supporting and helping the staff, families, and children she works with every day. When she is not working, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and children.