Do you have a fire safety plan?

October is national Fire Prevention month and a good time to review your family’s master plan in the event of a fire in your home.

Your greatest defense against a house fire is having a family plan. Talk with your children about fire safety, conduct a fire drill and check your smoke detectors regularly. Even though the reason behind a fire drill is a serious one, you can still make the activity a fun and engaging one. Here’s how:

v Gather around a fire alarm in the home and tell your children that this device makes a noise to alert people that there is a fire. Take a walk around your home and count all of the alarms that you see. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) also recommends familiarizing your children with the sound of the smoke alarm. Use your discretion for the little ones.

v You or your school age child can draw a map of your home. Review it as a family. Go to each bedroom together and discuss two different ways to exit the room. Using the map, have your preschooler use his finger to trace the quickest route from his bedroom to the front door and an alternative exit.

v Demonstrate how to crawl low on the floor – below the smoke – to get out of the house. Also show your children what to do if their clothes ever catch on fire: Stop, drop and roll. Your children should practice this -even baby! Place her on her back and roll her carefully and slowly from side to side.

v Next head outside and together choose a designated “family spot” to meet in the event of a house fire. Make sure it is a safe distance from your home. Your toddler can even help make this decision. Give him two choices and let him decide.

You’re ready for the drill!

v Have everyone head to their room. Make a loud beeping sound to indicate a fire. At one point, tell them all to stop, drop and roll and then get outside as quickly as possible to the family spot. Bring a timer. How long did it take?

When the practice is over, make copies of the house map. Your school age child can post a copy to the back of each bedroom door with a line indicating the closest exit from that room.

Parent Tip: Fire officials agree that parents should teach their children about fire safety at an early age.

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