5 Fire Safety Tips for your Home

Yesterday, I learned that a family in my community lost a child, their home, and their belongings in a house fire.

The Martial Arts studio that I own frequently has promotional booths at community events, and at the last several I have been set up near my local Fire Department. Their community outreach staff are kind and helpful and will give you tips for doing a fire drill and making an escape plan in your home (they’ll also check and make sure your car seats are correctly installed).

After the last one, I did home fire drill with my kids. We went through each room of the house and identified two ways out of each room. I realized that my six-year-old didn’t know how to open the windows in her room. One part of my protective Mama Bear self thought “good, she can’t escape without me knowing” but another part of me realized that she NEEDS to know how to escape without my help. So, we practiced opening and closing the window. She still needs help doing it, and this worries me.

I think about child safety like it’s my job (because…it is) and while I want every child I meet to have the skills they need to stop a child abduction or incident of bullying, fire safety and car safety are SO important and the risks of danger more common than you would think.

I don’t know what kind of preparation this family did for a fire, and I also know that they could have done all the things and it still might not have been enough. This family got 5 people out of that house, and the little girl’s father is in the hospital with third degree burns that he suffered trying to save her. They have to rebuild their lives, and I’m just so heartbroken for them.

A big piece of how I think about safety and self-defense is that preparation is the antidote to paranoia. I also think that we can teach our kids to be safe without frightening them.

Here are a few ideas from me (and a link to more resources)

fire drill

  1. Have a fire drill in your home
    • You can start like I did and just identify how to get out of every room in your house. You should do it more than once (I’m looking at myself here), and make it more difficult/fun – blindfold your kids and see if they can find their way to a door, crawl out of your house, adding variety and challenge helps make things realistic.
    • Decide where you’re going to meet if you have to evacuate your home (we’re meeting at my mailbox)
    • When you start, identify things that might make escape difficult (maybe your bedrooms are on a second floor)
  2. Build fire Safety Kits
    • In a child’s bedroom it’s a good idea to have
      • flash light (it’s hard to see in fires)
      • a whistle (that they can blow to alert fire fighters where they are)
      • a ladder (to climb out a window if they need to). You can get a ladder at a home improvement store like Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, or online at Amazon (or many other places).
  3. Invest in a voice alert smoke detector.
    • A friend kindly gave one of these to me as a house-warming gift, and they’re great because the detector “speaks” to tell you what’s going on, which can be really helpful for kids in an emergency.
  4. Check your plugs and outlets (especially on your Christmas lights), blow out your candles, practice good safety with your fire-place.
  5. Invest in a home fire extinguisher
    • I’ll be honest, I thought my husband was ridiculous when he suggested that we needed a fire extinguisher for our house, but I don’t anymore. We keep ours in our kitchen (most likely place a fire will start)
  6. BONUS! Take your kids to meet fire fighters! When Fire Fighters are in their fire gear, they can look scary and kids might hide from them. Be sure they know that people in fire gear are friends who are coming to help you!

Here’s a great fire safety checklist from FEMA.

I’d love to hear your fire safety ideas and how to make it fun and accessible for your kids.

 

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