Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fire Prevention in the Home

Fire prevention week was October 7-13, but we did not know this, as most of this stuff is brought up in school. We have, however, been working on our fire safety plan because it is one of the things we have to work on for Cub Scouts. I am very grateful because my eyes have been opened to so many things that we should be concerned about.
First, all of our bedrooms are on the second floor. Our stairway leads to the kitchen, where most fires start. (And even if it started downstairs at all, the smoke would come up the stairs). In any case, the stairs will not likely be an option for escape unless the fire happens to start upstairs. We did not have a smoke alarm upstairs until I realized this and ran out and bought one, along with a carbon monoxide detector. I got a great deal at our local True Value store for both of them.
The next problem is calling 911. Currently we have one phone upstairs, and it requires electricity. It is also a cordless, which sometimes doesn't get put back before we go to bed. So I decided that both of my children's rooms need telephones installed, just in case something should happen to me and they can't get out of their rooms.
The third problem: should we not be able to get down the stairs, how do we get out? First, we need to purchase at least one fire escape ladder. Then, we need to know which windows we can use the ladder on. More importantly, we need to make sure that the windows are operational, AND that my 4 and 6 year old children are able to open them by themselves.
Have you considered all of these things? Until I sat down with my children and considered all the possibilities (where a fire might start, whether I would be able to help, how they would call 911, where to meet outside, etc.) we had NO plan. There is no way to get down without a ladder. There are overhangs we can sit on to wait for the fire department, but they are too high to jump from.
Hopefully something I've said has sparked some thinking about your own fire escape plan. For fire prevention measures and more information to discuss with your children, a great site is http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/kids/flash.shtm .

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