By the Chief
A common mistake made by children is to hide during a fire or heavy smoke condition. If taught basic fire facts, they can better protect themselves. To start, children need to know that fire spreads quickly. Most fire-related deaths are from smoke inhalation, not burns, and that dangerous fumes can overcome a person in just a few minutes.
Children should learn to:
- Cover their mouths and noses with a moist towel or article of clothing while evacuating.
- Crawl under the smoke to safety, staying as low to the ground as possible.
- Touch any door to see if it is hot prior to opening it.
- Know where the nearest exit/stairwell is to speed their evacuation.
- Never stop for personal belongings or pets.
- Make the call to 911 after evacuating the residence.
- Never go back into a burning residence once safely outside.
- STOP, DROP and ROLL to extinguish flames if an article of clothing catches fire.
It is very important for children and adults to practice fire drills in the home. By rehearsing, your family will be less likely to panic and waste precious time trying to figure out what to do.
Here are some key notes in developing a fire exit strategy:
- Multiple evacuation routes are necessary in case one means of escape is blocked.
- Make sure windows are easy to open and not painted over.
- Invest in an escape ladder if your residence has more than one floor.
- Establish a meeting place outside and away from your home, such as a mailbox or light poll.
- Your plan should take no more than 3 minutes.
- Be sure to inform babysitters of your fire exit strategy.
Fire related deaths are decreasing. Let’s continue that trend. Proper planning prevents poor performance.