Fire escape plans can save lives
Fires are harmful to everyone, but children are at the greatest risk from home fire-related death and injury because they are less aware of danger and can’t react as quickly and properly as adults in a lifethreatening situation.
That’s why it’s important to have an escape plan in case a fire breaks out. First, draw a map of your home. On a big piece of cardboard or paper, draw your home’s floor plan, marking exits and a meeting spot. Post the map and review it often with children.
Ensure that your kids know what to do in case of a fire by staging a fire drill. Set off a smoke detector, and walk them through two different escape routes. Tell them they have to act fast — there will be no time to gather up toys or belongings. Explain that it might be loud, dark and smoky. Teach them some escape tips, including how to crawl under smoke and cover their noses with a shirt to prevent smoke inhalation. Practice feeling doors before opening them to see if they are hot. If they are hot, tell your kids not to open the door because there could be a fire on the other side. Instead, they should look for another way out. For young kids, show them a window they can stand next to if they can’t get out or forget what to do. A firefighter or pre-designated parent can then spot them easily at that window and help them escape safely.
While you are practicing the escape plan, it’s also a good time to test emergency exits. Open all windows — they should open easily and wide enough for someone to escape. They should not be nailed or painted shut. If they have security bars, make sure they can open or have them retrofitted with quick-release devices. Check if there’s a way to get down from windows, whether it’s via a ladder or tree. (Don’t let kids practice escaping from a window, otherwise they’ll injure themselves.)
After kids escape, have them head to the designated meeting spot. Pick a place that’s safe and easy to remember, such as a mailbox, a spot at the end of the driveway or under a tree. At a neighbor’s house, they can call 911 for help. Kids should never re-enter a burning building for someone or something.
By practicing an escape plan with your family, you can help your children safely escape a fire.
It’s important to teach kids about fire safety and test an escape plan should a fire occur in your home.
(Source: Metro Creative)