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The Importance Of Fire Safety At Home

Updated on May 23, 2012

Fire Drills At School

Kids have fire drills at school on a regular basis. In the event of a fire while at school, my kids know exactly what do to. We realize the importance of fire safety. However, we have never had a fire drill at home. We know we should discuss fire safety, but we have put it off.

If you mention fire safety at home, will you instill fear in your children? Will it make them not sleep well at night? Will you create a 'new monster' that you will have to deal with?

My seven year old twins are in the same first grade. One of my sons said to my last week, “Our classmate’s house burnt down!” I had heard nothing of this yet so I questioned my son. “Did it burn down or did they have a little fire?” He said, “My classmate wasn’t at school today. I don’t know.”

This made me wonder, “Did they lose everything?” I contacted their teacher. They had lost their house. Luckily, the parents heard the pop from the electrical fire and smelled smoke. The family was safe, but the house and its contents either were destroyed or had smoke/fire damage.

Instantly I knew, we needed to discuss the importance of fire safety at home!

What If Our House Caught On Fire?

I heard my sons talking back and forth about it more.

“She needs a lunch box and backpack!”

“Maybe those were ok. They could have been in the car.”

“We will sneak over to her cubby when she is back. If her bag smells like smoke, we will get her a new one.”

Then one of them said it. “How would we get out of our house if there was a fire?”

We Need A Fire Drill

The kids needed to know what to do in case of a fire. It might scare them in discussing it, but not knowing might scare them more.

Practicing Opening the Deadlock...Wearing a Fireman Hat!

Practicing Fire Safety
Practicing Fire Safety | Source

Reviewing Fire Safety

  • Understanding the floor plan: We have a two story house with a first floor master. Without scaring the kids, we explained that a fire might prevent us from getting up stairs or vice versa, allowing them down the stairs.
  • Test if the door is hot: We reviewed putting your hand on the door to see if it was hot.
  • Taking care of all family members: We discussed getting the two year old out of the crib regardless if he was cooperating. Sometimes the two year old only wants me or my husband to get him out of the crib. We explained, get in his crib and get him out!
  • Opening the windows: We don’t let the kids play with the windows. I realized they have no idea how to open them. Once they understood the how, we thought, “Could they lift them?” We explained who stood where and that two people would need to help open the window.
  • Get out the window: We said they could knock out the screen however they wanted. We would fix it later. They laughed and kidded they would karate chop it or punch it hard. We agreed, “Chose your method! Just knock it quickly!”
  • The best way to escape from our second floor: We explained who had the best window to jump out of and why. Ideally, they would all go into the bedroom shared by the oldest 3 boys and go out on the roof. They realized the jump to the ground was shorter there.
  • A roof escape: We discussed that breaking a leg is better than getting hurt by fire. This eliminated their fear of jumping from their roof.
  • A first floor escape: If they could get downstairs and we couldn’t help them with the doors, which door did we want them to try first?
  • Unlocking a deadbolt: We dead bolted our back door years ago to prevent the kids from getting out. This would be counterproductive if there was a fire. We had each practice pulling over a chair and unlocking the deadbolt.
  • Family meeting spot: We picked a yard across the street. If we had to get out of the house in different ways, we all would meet in one common spot. This way we could count heads and know we were all safe.
  • Schedule the fire drill. We felt like we addressed the needs without causing fear. My husband and I agreed we would have a drill.

Our First Fire Drill

We let a few hours pass and then my husband set off the alarm. They were all busy playing in various parts of the house. We did not set up any doors or stairways blocked by fire. In our scenario, we said that we smelled smoke right away and we could all go out the front door. We all looked both ways and crossed the street. We wanted to keep the first drill simple. No jumping off the roof!

The kids talked about what they had learned. The older boys explained again why they had the safest bedroom for escaping.

I had avoided the topic because I was afraid it might scare them. In discussing the topic,their fear went away. Perfect!

Pooper Scooper Money

The next day I took the older two boys to the store. They have a Pooper Scooper job. Each seven year old has a yard that they get $5/week to pick up dog poop. They have agreed that $4 will go to charity. $1 they can spend as they wish. They have not picked their charity yet so they envelope was filling up. The boys decided to use their own money for their class mate.

I took them to the store to pick two out. The older of the two said they needed clothes. He picked out a gift card to Old Navy. He explained, “She can get school clothes or play clothes there! And, they won’t smell like smoke!” The younger son picked a Subway gift card. He explained, “They lost all their food too, Mommy! We like Subway. I bet they do, too”

Scheduling Our Next Fire Drill

The boys took their gift cards to school today. They were proud that they were able to use their own money to help a friend. I was proud of them as well. The mother in charge of this effort said the family is overwhelmed by the amount of help, but grateful. I can only imagine.

I am so pleased the family is safe. By no means was the fire a blessing in disguise. It was a tragedy!

However, we used it as a learning opportunity. We had neglected discussing at home fire safety. It encouraged us to have our first fire drill. It allowed the boys to use their ‘charity’ money for someone they actually knew.

My kids are too precious to not be prepared. Our next at home fire drill is on the calendar.

Is yours?

© 2012 Karen Lackey

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    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks cardelean! That is tragic about your father. What is most tragic are the memories and pictures that are lost! Seems like we both took it as a learning opportunity for our children! Thanks for linking, too!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Wow! What a great learning experience for your family. I'm so glad that the family is safe but what a heart breaking experience to go through. My father actually just lost his home to a fire. It burned completely down to the foundation. It really is an important lesson for everyone to know what to do in these types of situations. What a couple of awesome kids you have that they were so charitable. I guess that's just a reflection of great parenting! I'm linking this one to my hub about fire safety.

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      You had done more than we had, Debi! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Debi 5 years ago

      Thanks for the reminder. I had a few fire drills when Mindy was younger and feel that she is very prepared. (She asks about her escape ladder every once in awhile) Unfortunately, I haven't really talked about it with the 2 little ones. I will need to do that soon!