Fire es­cape plans can save lives

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY -

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)

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