Today, we went to tour a fire station as part of a mom’s group outing. Aside from my son sitting in the truck, putting on the jacket and helmet, touching hoses and getting a plastic helmet to take home, there was a lot of really helpful information shared that I took away. The firefighters were very helpful and educative about how to help young kids prepare and practice for a house fire, so I feel it important to pass along what I learned.
They recommend as early as two, memorizing the numbers 911 and practicing pushing them on the phone. Kids are very quick to learn technological skills, and pushing phone buttons is second nature! Explain to them that they only ever call that number if someone really needs help, including if they see a fire.
Practice Fire drills
They suggest pushing the test button on the smoke detectors so that your kids learn what they sound like and what to do if they ever hear that sound. After your kids know what the alarm noise is, they need to practice getting out of the house as fast as possible. Show them the quickest outside access route from their bedroom, as well as which way you want them to go if they can’t use the fastest one.
Arrange a Meeting Place
They encourage every family to determine a meeting place if everyone needs to evacuate. The firemen suggest the mailbox, but it can be any place that makes sense for your home and family that is far enough away from the house. Practice meeting there so that everyone knows what to do.
One of the most helpful suggestions for young kids is to NEVER hide if there is a fire. They stressed that kids should not go under the bed, in the closet, behind furniture, etc. When fire fighters enter a home, they often can’t see well because of the smoke. They need family members easily visible so they can get them out quickly.
Exposure to Firefighters in Fire Suits
Most fire stations will let you tour or visit for free. This was very helpful for the little ones today to see a fireman in the fire suit. With the suit, helmet, mask, tools, gloves – it can be scary and intimidating for kids. The more exposure kids have to firemen and what they look like, the less likely they will be fearful should they ever have to meet one in your home during a rescue.
Practice Stop, Drop & Roll
Although it is something taught every year in school to kids, most children under the age of five have never practiced this lifesaving technique for catching on fire. Little kids love to memorize patterns and practice action steps, so this is an easy one to make into a fun game for their safety.
This was a really fun activity for all of the kids today, and I learned a lot as well. We always want to think that a fire will never affect us, but it is better to have prepared, practiced and planned to be on the safe side! I hope you find these helpful for your kids’ safety and your peace of mind.