Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home—and replacing their batteries twice a year—is an important first step to keeping your family safe in the rare case of an electrical or other fire.
But when that unexpected alarm sounds, your children may panic.
Before an emergency strikes, prepare your kids—and yourself—to respond calmly and sensibly. The best way to do that is to plan for what everyone should do and where they should go in case of a fire.
Here’s how to get started:
- Draw a map of your house’s floor plan and outline the best escape route. Teach your children what to do if a doorway is blocked by fire. Create an alternate route, especially from each child’s room or from areas of the house without easy access to the outdoors.
- Agree on a meeting place outside the house so your family will immediately know when everyone is safe.
- You can teach kids the familiar fire safety drill, “Stop, drop and roll,” but words alone won’t keep them safe. Have children act out the moves. Then do a practice run-through of your escape routes and demonstrate to children how they should crawl and stay low to the ground to prevent smoke inhalation.
- If you have a fire extinguisher in the house, show older children how to use it. Still, remind them that their safest action is to escape as quickly as possible.
- Keep a cellphone in a visible and easily accessible place in case of emergencies. That way, you can get out of the house then call 911.
- Don’t waste time grabbing documents or keepsakes when there’s a fire. Keep important and irreplaceable items such as birth certificates and photos in a fireproof box or a safe-deposit box at the bank.