Five Ways to Prepare Your Children for a Fire Emergency
Do your children know what to do if a fire breaks out in your home? If you haven’t told them exactly what to do, don’t expect them to know. Just like children practice fire drills at school, you should be holding fire drills in your home. Here are five ways to prepare your children for a fire emergency:
1. Make a Written Plan
According to the National Fire Protection Association, every household should have a written fire emergency plan. This plan can be as simple as a floor plan outlining routes of escape. Hang a plan on the back of each child’s door so that they can easily see it should they need to get out of the house quickly. Make sure that your plan has at least two escape routes for each bedroom and the main room of your home.
2. Choose a Meeting Place
Choose a safe meeting place for your entire family. The place should be far enough away from the home to be safe and can be a lamppost, a neighbor’s house, or even a stop sign. Mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan. Make sure that your children understand this is where they are to go, and stay, to wait for you. Under no circumstances are your children to reenter the home to search for you or anyone else. Explain to your children that they may have to wait alone at the meeting place before everyone can get out of the house.
3.Teach Addresses and Phone Numbers
Your children provided they are old enough, should memorize your home address, your phone number, the phone number of one friend or relative, and 911. Practice this information with your child on a daily basis until you are sure that he or she has it memorized. If your child carries a cell phone, download an ICE app, and input emergency contact information for your child.
If your children’s bedrooms are on the second or third floor of your home, make sure that each room has an emergency safety ladder in the closet. In the event that your stairs or the first floor is blocked by flames, these ladders ensure that your children can get outside safely. Additionally, your room should have a ladder, as should any rooms that are frequently slept in on the upper levels of your home.
If you have anyone in your home that is too young or too old to get themselves out of the house, assign them a buddy. In the same vein, if anyone in your home has mobility issues, he or she should also have a buddy. The buddy is assigned to making sure that that person gets out of the home safely. When your family practices completing your escape plan, make sure that the buddies stick together.
Practicing fire drills in your home, along with common-sense safety practices, ensure that your entire family knows what to do in the event of a fire. After you install a smoke detector in each bedroom, in each hallway, and in the kitchen, be sure to create a fire escape plan. Doing so can save the life of your family.