Monday, October 7th, 2013
This week (October 6 through 12) is National Fire Prevention Week, an imperative time to talk about and practice safety measures with your kids. Keep both your home and family safe: use these tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and LEGO City to start a conversation with your child about emergencies.
1. Be Prepared with Necessary Tools
It is critical to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month. According to Joe Molis, a member of NFPA’s Fire Analysis Research Division, two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with non-working or no smoke detectors. He recommends replacing batteries twice each year: at the start and end of daylight savings time, which that act as helpful reminders for this essential task.
2. Make An Evacuation Plan
Talk to your child about exit points in every room, asking her to identify doors, windows, and clear paths to safety. A toy like a dollhouse or a structure built from LEGOs can be useful tools, suggests Molis, a father of three and active lieutenant of the Providence Fire Department in Rhode Island. “This way, children are engaged while their parents direct the discussion,” he says.
3. Mark a Meeting Point
Every evacuation procedure should include a safe spot to gather (a neighbor’s porch, a lamppost or tree across the street), so that your family can respond quickly to an emergency and stay all together.
4. Run the Drill
Be sure to act out emergency escape plans at home two times every year. “It’s one thing to talk about evacuation, but it’s another when you role-play and practice,” Molis says. This helps remind children of their family’s specific plan, and builds their confidence to respond to emergency situations. It also instills the importance of keeping exits clear of obstacles. Running the drill is vital, but if you are ever faced with a house fire, Molis stresses: “The most important thing is to get out and stay out. Make sure everyone is accounted for, and then call 911.”
5. Lead the Way
Practice daily safety measures in front of your children: never leave pans cooking on the stove unattended, store matches and lighters out of litte ones’ reach, and ensure that appliances are clean and functioning properly.
6. Check It Out
Download a fire safety checklist at Sparky.org and use it to inspect your home as a family. Walk through each room and check off the safety measures you are following. If something is potentially dangerous, remedy the problem. “The checklist is incredibly important,” Molis says. “It helps make sure your dryer vents are clean, electrical cords aren’t damanges, escape routes are clear, and heat sources are away from flammable items.”
To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, visit NFPA.org.
For more tips on teaching and practicing fire safety, visit the following Parents.com resources:
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Health & Safety, News
Sunday, October 9th, 2011
In addition to making sure there are always fresh batteries in your home’s smoke detector, staying calm, being prepared, and knowing what to do during a fire emergency are the first steps to staying out of danger.
This week, as focus is on fire safety and fire prevention, think about introducing everyone to life-saving methods. First, have an open conversation about fire dangers with your kids. Then, keep kids and objects that can easily catch fire at least three feet away from the hottest parts of your house, such as the stove, the fireplace, any candles, etc. Also, make sure there are working smoke detectors on every floor of your house and that you test them at least once a month. (According to the CDC, an average of 4 out of 10 fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms.) Finally, organize an escape plan and practice it several times. (Read more about protecting your family from fires.)
You can also suggest that your child’s class take a field trip to the local fire department to learn safety tips first hand – that will come in handy if you ever face an unexpected emergency at home. (Read our Executive Editor’s pancake breakfast/fire alarm experience.)
Visit the U.S. Fire Administration website for additional fire safety guidelines.
More About Fire Safety on Parents.com
The photo above is from Wikimedia Commons.
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Monday, May 16th, 2011
Following a nursery school trip to the local firehouse recently (pictured at right), my 4-year-old asked a lot of questions about what happens if there is a fire in our home. A lot of questions. Over and over again. We answered patiently and repetitively, giving her the facts and reassuring her that it is an unlikely situation and, with the knowledge we’re sharing, one we will know how to deal with should the time ever come.
Then the smoke alarm went off in our house.
It was yesterday morning, and Adira and I were doing what we do on most Sunday mornings, making pancakes. Only this Sunday, determined to finally make a whole batch without any burned ones, I greased the pan obsessively. And there they were, golden, the nearest-to-perfect pancakes my humble hands have ever produced (with an assist, of course, from the 4-year-old).
But before we had a chance to admire our creations, let alone taste them, a shrill noise sounded. It took me a moment to understand what was going on, but then I realized the smoke alarm was sounding, which had never happened before in the year-and-a-half we’ve been in our house. Though the house didn’t look, smell, or feel particularly smoky, my determined greasing must have set it off. And while I tried to quickly figure out what to do–how do I shut the thing off? Should I check the basement, just in case there was a real fire? What to do about the baby and wife still sleeping upstairs–Adira knew. She was ready to go outside, as discussed over and over following her firehouse trip. (more…)
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