This account of a family's home burning down is an important reminder that we should always be prepared for freak accidents in our own homes.

By Zara Hanawalt
June 23, 2021
Advertisement
An image of a firetruck.
Credit: Getty Images.

As parents, we quickly realize that, as much as we'd like to prepare for everything, we simply can't anticipate every hurdle our families will face (inevitably, we'll find ourselves without a clean diaper when we really need one). But a recent Reddit thread serves as a powerful reminder that we really need to think about how we would handle one situation we hope we'll never find ourselves in: a house fire.

A mom shared a truly terrifying account of what happened when her own family faced a situation we all tend to believe we'd never find ourselves in, and she's sharing all the things she wishes she had done to prepare for this unthinkable situation before she was thrust into it. The account is harrowing, but it's also chock-full of great information and insights that every parent should keep in mind when it comes to fire safety.

"A couple days go, our house burned down," the mom writes. "It was in the middle of the night and a complete basic freak accident. We lost everything we owned. I've learnt so much from this experience and I really want to share what I wish I knew before it happened."

Here's one point the mom stresses: Fire drills should be a thing. Sure, our kids likely experience them in school, but we should be coming up with emergency escape plans in our own homes as well, according to this mom. She suggests practicing fire drills both in the day and at night-and it's important to emphasize that everyone must get out of the house immediately without stopping to grab any items.

Practicing fire drills seems like a fairly obvious step to take in order to prepare your family for a house fire, but the mom also comes through with things you can only learn after experiencing something so scary. One important tip is making sure to go outside with your kids.

"I told my kids (8 and 9) to go downstairs and out the door once I was sure there was no fire there," she writes. "They were waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. They were scared. They didn't want to go outside in the middle of the night without a parent. Don't rely on your children to go outside alone."

Luckily, this family made it out safely, even as their home and belongings were taken out by the fire. However, we can't underestimate the emotional aftermath of experiencing such a traumatic event. The mom shares points that speak to that as well.

"Don't let your children watch the house burn down. Hell, if you can avoid it, don't watch it yourself. It's traumatic," the mom writes. "Ask a neighbor to keep them, a grandparent to pick them up, anything. You don't want them to go through the whole set of emotions of seeing everything they own being burnt. Afterwards, experts have suggested us not to go back to the scene with them and definitely not to go inside."

Of course, getting your children out of the house is your top priority, but if you have pets, you should tell the firefighters multiple times that they're in the house, according to the mom. And something every family should have? A fireproof safe. That way, you can keep important documents and items (like passports, birth certificates, and valuables).

And of course, the mom suggests seeking out therapy (for yourself and your kids) and leaning on your support systems for help should you experience a house fire.

Commenters are weighing on how important this mom's advice is. "As a firefighter family, I'm going to tell you children hiding from fire is a leading cause of death. They don't go outside, they don't follow plans… they hide. They are found under beds and in closets," one writes. "So, parents: talk to your children. Make a plan. Practice that plan. But know that smoke and fire and burning things are louder than you think. It's very scary."

A firefighter also shares some incredibly important advice. "Please keep your smoke detectors up to date, replace the batteries, and test them. We sound like broken records saying it over, and over, and over again. But seriously, test your smoke detectors," the firefighter writes, also adding that it's important for those who live in the house not to totally disappear after they escape a house fire. "I understand not wanting to see your house burn down but wait until we are there," writes the firefighter.

All these points are so important for parents to keep in mind. Of course, we hope no one ever needs to recall them, but as every parents knows, sometimes preparation is the thing that can save the day or, in a case like this, someone's life.