From the time we're young, we're drilled on fire safety in our schools. We learn what a fire alarm means, how to react when it sounds, and of course, how to stop, drop, and roll.
But do you have a fire plan in place at home for your kids?
According to studies, only one in three American families have a fire safety plan for their home that they've practiced with their kids. In a fire, every second counts. Preparing kids for fires could mean the difference between life and death.
Not sure where to start? We've got you covered. Keep reading to learn how to prepare your kids for a fire.
Make an Escape Plan
The first step is to make a plan, and depending on the age of your children, everyone in the house should be part of this process. Most children learn by doing, not simply observing, so pull the whole family in for a day of planning and preparing.
First, walk through your entire house together. Have your children point out doors and windows that can be used to escape. As you walk through, draw a plan of your home and mark these exits. Make sure every room has at least two exits marked.
While you're walking through, actively engage with your children and pose scenarios to make them think about how they would escape if the most obvious route was blocked.
Choose a Meeting Place
Choose a meeting place outside the home, near enough that you can still see your home but far enough away to be safe from a fire. Mark this on your drawn-out plan.
Know Where Things are Located
Take time to point out existing fire equipment such as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Test these so your children learn how they work and are part of the fire safety process.
A smoke alarm should be in every room, including hallways, and should ideally be wired together so that if one sounds, they all sound.
Fire extinguishers should be located in kitchens, utility closets, and bedrooms.
Especially for younger children or family members with mobility issues, you'll want to assign buddies for each family member. The role of the buddy is to ensure that their buddy reaches safety and to alert someone in charge if they can't.
Create a Binder
Once you have your plan drawn out, create a family safety binder. This should have your fire plan, your drawn escape routes, and emergency phone numbers. Use it to keep track of testing fire alarms, planned fire drills for your family, and other pertinent information.
A family binder like this doesn't just have to be useful for fire information. Use it to help kids be involved in chores, budgeting, meal planning and more!
Practice, Practice, Practice
The most important part of any fire plan is to practice it. Creating one is only half of the equation - once you have the plan, practice will make sure it actually happens in the event of a fire.
Stage regular fire drills for your kids and practice your safety plan. Use any moments of confusion as opportunities to clarify and refine your plan. After the drill, discuss as a family what went wrong and what could be improved on.
Preparing Kids for Fires
Preparing kids for fires isn't difficult, but it could mean a huge difference in the event a fire actually breaks out in your home. If your kids know how to escape and where to go, you can rest easier knowing they will think more clearly and be more likely to escape, even if you're separated from them.
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