Between the local firemen visiting Morgan's school and a birthday party at a station, we have been getting some really good fire safety tips I thought I would pass along.
Tip #1: Teach your child what a fireman really looks like while working a fire. There is a big difference between the friendly looking local fireman in the yellow jacket and pants:
And the scary looking "monster" that comes out of the smoke with a mask and an axe.
All too many times a child gets scared of a fireman's appearance and ends up hiding from them. Teach your child that they should never hid from a fireman. In a conversation with Morgan, we took it another step. We were talking to her about how a fireman wears a mask during a fire and may look scary but you always, always go with them and never hide. To which she replied, firemen are not strangers, but if it's another adult I don't know, I should not go with them. We had to explain to her that the number one concern during a fire is to get out and if ANY adult is there to help her, she needs to go with them.
Tip #2: Teach your child to leave their pets in the house during a fire. If the family cat is hiding under the bed, your child's should not try and coax the cat out. Again, the main concern is to get out of the house. Once out of the house they can tell a fireman where they last saw their pet. Too many kids get trapped in fires trying to save the family pet.
Tip #3: Does your child know what the smoke detector sounds like? Every month you should test the detector with your child around to hear it and then discuss your family's fire safety plan. We realized that Morgan has never, ever heard our detector go off. How can she protect herself from a fire if she doesn't even know what the warning sounds like? We set it off twice and talked about what we should do when we hear that sound. We went through different scenarios and escape plans - there is a fire in the kitchen, how do you get out? The fire is blocking the front door, what do you do now? We will continue to do this each month so she doesn't forget.
They say you have about three minutes to evacuate a house once a fire is detected. Please make sure your family uses those three minutes as wisely as possible.