October is National Fire Safety Month – make sure your family is prepared
Discovery Place Kids Rockingham
Preparing your kids for what to do if there’s a fire is something you can start at an early age. Below are a few on how to prevent fires and what to do if your family experiences one.
Don’t be a fire starter
The number one reason a fire that involves children even starts is because the kids were playing with matches or a lighter. Keep anything that can spark interest in starting a fire out of reach of little hands.
Also, take the time to have a conversation with your kids about what’s appropriate when it comes to fire-related activities such as lighting the grill or hanging out by the fire pit.
Start talking to kids about fire safety in the home as early as possible.
Get plugged in the right way
Admittedly many toddlers can work smart devices better than adults, and most households have more than one device to charge. ‘Over plugging’ of devices is a fire hazard.
Always plug devices into an actual outlet or a surge protector. Avoid using extension cords, which are meant for temporary power issues only.
Know when to run and when to roll
Stop, drop and roll is still the go-to, but only if you are on fire. If you run when your clothing has caught ablaze, you will only fuel the flames. Talking frequently and demonstrating to your kids how to stop, drop, and roll may help them to fight the instinct to run when they instead should roll.
It is also important to teach them when to run. Should there be a fire at your home, the best thing you can teach your kids to do is to get out of the house. Kids can get scared so it is important to teach them not to stay and hide but get out of the house. Make sure they know to leave quickly and empty handed - no toys, and not even pets.
Have a plan
Having an exit plan in place is essential. Make it fun by drawing together as a family your best route out of the house. The fire department has maps you can use to get you started if need be.
Have an open dialogue about the smoke alarms, fire escape planning and actually practice your escape regularly.
Sleep with bedroom doors closed
This one may be particularly tough for families with young children. In many households, nights are filled with a game of musical beds, numerous trips to the bathroom, bad-dream soothing and constant calling out just to make sure ‘you’re still there.’ None of these nighttime activities is conducive to closed doors.
But sleeping with the door closed is really a game changer. If a fire were to break out, the bedroom door will hold back fire for an extended period of time. It holds back fire, heat and carbon monoxide, enabling those inside to live longer.
Confidence to call 911
Show your child the steps for calling 911 on your mobile phone. Make sure they know how to unlock it.
Make sure your child can say their first and last name, and for older kids also their street address.
(Some 911 centers don't have the ability to automatically locate a caller, so it’s important to teach children to identify a location even by buildings, signs or other landmarks.)
Go over your mobile phone's keypad several times to help your child become familiar with making a call, and the reasons or situation to call.
Have a wanna-be firefighter in the house?
Role play is a valuable tool. The full-size firetruck in the Museum is one of our most popular exhibits. Kids can don jackets and helmets and be in control at the wheel, as they sound sirens and ‘save lives.’ They can also work together to fight a fire. This is the perfect opportunity to show kids the dangers of fire and the importance of exiting a structure as quickly as possible.