Like many of you, I was deeply saddened to hear about the fire a few weeks ago that took the lives of 4 young boys and injured 3 more, as well as a fire just days later that resulted in the death of an 11-year-old boy. These tragedies should serve as a reminder for us all to be diligent about protecting ourselves and our families from fire-related injuries. Try asking your children what they would do if there was a fire in your home, and you may be surprised by their answers. I was shocked that the most common response I received when I asked that question to elementary school children was, "Stop, Drop, and Roll". While that may work if THEY are on fire, it won't help them if their home is on fire! Here are some fire-related tips to help keep your family safe:
- Do not leave children unattended in rooms when you are using fireplaces, candles, or other heat sources. Children are naturally curious and may unintentionally start a fire if they are left unsupervised with a heat source.
- Working smoke alarms save lives. Make sure you have working smoke alarms in every bedroom outside of sleeping areas, and on all levels of your home. Test your batteries monthly, and replace them immediately if they are not.
- Make sure you have two ways out of every room of your home, such as windows and doors. If you have security bars on your windows and/or doors, know how to releases the bars in case of an emergency.
- Create a fire escape plan with your children and practice it at least twice a year so that they will know what to do in case of a fire. As part of the plan, pick a "safe place" to meet outside if you have to evacuate.
- Frightened children may try to hide from the fire/smoke or go looking for other family members. Teach your children the "Get out and stay out!" message. Tell them that if there is a fire in the home, their biggest responsibility is to get to your family's "safe place" outside so that YOU can find THEM.