photo by matthewvenn
We were in Chicago over the weekend and visited the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it. One of their exhibits is on fire safety. There is a firetruck to climb on, fireman costumes to dress up in, pretend hoses to spray, flashing lights, radios, and a bedroom with lightweight fabric draped all around to simulate smoke. The bedroom is to train kids to “get low and go” to stay under the smoke. They find their way in the dark, under the hanging “smoke.” It’s a great opportunity to talk to kids about fire safety. They had brochures for parents to pick up, so I did. I know we need to work a little more on a concrete plan.
Here are the 10 Steps to Fire Safety (from the Chicago Fire Department):
Smoke Detectors Save Lives! Put a smoke detector outside your sleeping areas. Change batteries twice a year (when you change your clocks) and test them monthly so kids can hear the beeping sound.
Have an Escape Plan! Create and practice escape routes from different areas of your house – especially from your bedrooms at night.
Sleep With Doors Shut! Fire travels through open areas first. Closed doors help keep fire and smoke from spreading.
Get Low and Go! Smoke and heat rise toward the ceiling. Air is more breathable near the floor.
Never Hide – Crawl Outside! Young children may fear the sights and sounds of firefighting equipment. Talk about why they should NEVER hide from firefighters, no matter what.
Know Two Ways Out! A fire may block a certain path. Know two ways out of the house or building.
Feel Every Door! As you crawl, feel doors with the back of your hand. Don’t open a door if it’s hot – there may be flames on the other side.
Go to the Family Meeting Place! Make sure everyone knows where to meet after they leave the home (a neighbor’s house, street corner, or particular tree).
Call 911 for Help! It’s OK to scream and yell in an emergency. Find a neighbor and call 911.
Practice Your Escape Plan! Practicing how to exit your home in a fire is the BEST way to prepare.
If your child has disabilities, call your local fire department’s non-emergency number and explain your family’s situation. They can suggest escape plans, perform a home fire-safety inspection, and recommend special equipment, such as smoke alarms with flashing lights and vibrating elements to place under pillows.
More information for those with disabilities:
Great books for kids:
Free coloring book download
If your child is curious about fires, the bedroom is the most common place for children to “play” with fire. If you suspect your child is experimenting, look for burnt matches or burn marks under your child’s bed, desk or in the closet, and GET EXPERT ADVICE.
Hopefully, you never need any of this information, but if you do, preparedness is key and can truly save lives.