Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Teaching Children Fire Safety
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October is National Fire Safety Month. Over on the Children's Learning Activities, we have been discussing some fun things to do in conjunction with that. Today I am cross-posting this because I think it is of such importance.
Teaching children about fire safety can be difficult to do. I have been trying to think of ways to teach my young children what to do in case of a fire. Here is what I have come up with.
First, I reviewed this website: Fire Safety.gov for Kids
Second, I wrote a list of notes from the website. If you have an older child (five or older), you can review the website together, but I think younger kids will much prefer to hear it mom's own words. I actually think all kids prefer that.
Monday night, we had a lesson and practice time for fire safety.
First, we went over rules for preventing fires and burns. We discussed rules that applied to our home (for example, we don't have a fire place so we didn't discuss fire places).
Second, we talked about smoke detectors. We pointed out the smoke detectors in our home. We tested them. This a)tested the alarms and b)let the kids hear what a smoke detector sounds like. An idea from the Fire Safety for Kids website is to also take this moment to clean smoke detectors, but I knew we would lose the focus of the kids at that moment, so it wasn't a family affair.
Third, we talked about our escape plan. Firesafety.gov has an Escape plan grid you can use to write out your evacuation plan.
We talked about how if our smoke detectors go off, we need to get out of the house as fast as we can. We talked about staying low to the ground. We practiced touching the bottom of doors first to make sure they aren't hot.
Fourth, we practiced our evacuation plan. We had the detector go off. We dropped to the ground and left the house. We ran to our designated meeting spot. We practiced leaving each room two ways.
We went into each child's bedroom and discussed and practiced the two ways to escape. It was great to do. We, the parents, were able to observe the children executing these plans and became more aware of things we need to do to help aide in a quick escape. An example is in Brayden's room. He likes to play with his cars on his large window sill. We don't often clean those up each night because he just gets them out the next day and they aren't in the way. But as he was practicing escaping from his window, he was severely slowed down by the cars. He also didn't want to just brush them onto the floor as we suggested. So we will now have him clean those up each evening before bed.
We also realized that our three year old would be unable to open her window on her own. So we practiced having her leave through her door. We also instructed her of what to do if the door was hot. We told her to leave it shut and go stand in a specific spot close to her window. In that spot, we could break her window from the outside and then reach in and grab her if needed.
We spent about an hour practicing our escaping over and over from room to room.
Now, you may be thinking this over and starting to realize if you talk about fire safety, you are going to have a scared child on your hands. This is most likely true. Even Kaitlyn was scared, and she just doesn't get scared. I do think, however, that it is a small price to pay for preparing your children for a fire. Better a little scared today than unprepared tomorrow.
While house fires are relatively rare, they do happen--obviously. Over the last weekend, a home in our community burned down and is a total loss. Luckily no one was hurt. It was started while the father was grilling outside--one spark. It doesn't take much, and it can happen. This really brought to light the importance of preparation on this topic.