Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fire Drill

It's important to teach our kids about fire safety in a way that empowers them and doesn't immobilize them.  To that end, I decided we'd have a mini fire-safety unit during our two week break.  

At the beginning of the week I warned the kids that we were going to have a fire drill sometime that week and not to be too worried when I started shouting that the house was on fire and we needed to get out.


I planned to catch them at a time when they were both in their bedroom playing together.  Then I'd go in, shut the door, and tell them there was a fire in the kitchen and we needed to get out, but we couldn't go through the hallway.  We talked about how to touch the door to see if it was safe and how to block the bottom with rags to keep out the smoke.  Then I showed them how to egress from their bedroom window.  The kids loved that!

We talked about what to do if there wasn't an adult to help (throw pillows and blankets on the ground and jump).  We talked about what to do if a fireman came to help (don't hide! go with him).  We practiced where to meet up once out of the house.  We talked about the people in our neighborhood that we know and who they could go to for help if needed.  I tried to give them the know-how they'd need to keep them safe and to make them feel equipped for the future.

When I was a little girl, we lived in a trailer house in a trailer park in Arizona.  One night, the trailer next to ours caught on fire!  Thankfully, my mom listened to her nose when she still smelled something burning even after she had double-checked the iron and the oven and had gone to bed.  She dialed 911 and got the baby while my stepdad grabbed my little brother and I out of our bunk beds.  We all rushed outside and took refuge with the across-the-street neighbors while we waited for the fire department to respond.  All's well that ends well, as they say!  The trailer house was destroyed, but no one got hurt and, thanks to some quick-thinking men, the vehicles and other trailers on the block were undamaged. 

From that time on, however, fire drills always made me a bit more anxious than normal.  While my classmates celebrated the chance to get out of class, I was always trying to stave off a sense of panic that threatened whenever the fire alarms began to blare.  I didn't often suffer from nightmares, but when I did have a bad dream, it almost always was about a fire.

Have you had a fire drill with your kids?
Have you practiced going out the window?
Pick a nice day this summer to talk with your kids about fire safety and have a drill!

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post! What a great reminder. As a fellow MFW Adventures Teacher I just love your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! We took a couple weeks off, but my week-in-review posts for Adventures will resume soon!

      Delete
  2. I was in an apartment fire maybe 6 years ago. I was one of the first to get out (with one dog under each arm). As I exited the building from the 4th floor onto the fire escape, I screamed when I saw flames shooting out a window right in front of me. It was a nightmare that I can still see today when I close my eyes. I learned a few things that day. Obviously, grab people first, then pets. Also, grab your purse with inhaler and medications if you're going past them on your way out and if it's SAFE to do so, or you're going to have to get help from the ambulance. Not to mention, car keys are nice to have.

    Do you have suggestions for fire drills in a 2-story house? We have ladders in the kids' rooms on the 2nd floor, but I don't think it's safe to practice climbing down them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that sounds so awful! We only lived at ground level when we lived in an apartment…I can't imagine how scary it would be to be 4 floors up! I think for the kids' rooms on the second floor, I'd want to practice going out the window at least once every couple of years. You'd have to know your kids though. Mine would probably descend a ladder with no problem, but not every kid is as agile, so use your mommy knowledge!

      Delete
  3. What a great reminder! For some reason, this has been on my mind a lot lately, but I haven't figured out what would be the best way to escape. Our bedroom windows have window unit ACs in them. Maybe just tell the kids to push them out and then climb out like you said. Afterall, if the house is on fire, the window units are the least of our worries, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose it's always ideal to practice, but with AC units in the windows that becomes quite a bit more difficult! But one thing's for sure, if the house is on fire your kids are FAR more important than the AC units or anything else in the house!

      Delete
  4. Such a helpful post! thanks! This is exactly what I was thinking for our safety summer school program. my kids' bedroom is on the second floor, so we may use just a "crash dummy" instead of actually jumping out the window. I don't want my 3 and 6 year olds getting any crazy ideas :-/ !

    ReplyDelete