Teach your children how to act in the event of a fire – it could mean the difference between life and death
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Most families think a fire won't ever happen in their home. But what if the unthinkable happened? Would you know what to do? Would your children know how to react? While many assume children would call for help or get out, the fact is many kids hide under beds or in closets, which is why more than 400 children die in the United States each year in residential fires.
Teach your children how to act in the event of a fire – it could mean the difference between life and death. Safe Kids Baltimore recommends the following:
Have a working smoke alarm on each leavel of the home, which cuts in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Test your alarms monthly and install 10-year lithium batteries (or change batteries annually). Make sure your children know what the smoke alarm sounds like.
Many families have an escape plan but less than half actually practice this plan with their children. An escape plan needs two ways out of each room and out of the house. Practice home fire drills! Sound the smoke alarm and time how quickly it takes your family to get out of the house. A fire can double in size every minute. You want to get out as quickly as possible. The plan should also have a designated family meeting place. This needs to be away from your home. Everyone should go there and wait for all family members. Call 911 when outside – never make the call from inside the burning home.
Children are often scared by smoke and the smell of fire. Teach them to leave immediately if you hear the smoke alarm, smell smoke or see flames. Stay low and crawl on the floor below the level of the smoke. Feel the doors of rooms with the back of the hand before opening. If they are hot, go out another way. If you are trapped in a room, hang a piece of clothing or bedding out the window – this alerts firefighters that there is someone in this room who needs help.
No one should ever enter a burning building for any reason. If someone has not reached the meeting place, alert firefighters. Firefighters are dressed and equipped to rescue any family members from a fire. You are not – so do not go back inside.