Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Your house is on fire! Do you have a plan?

Every school morning, one of our tasks is making sure the kids' backpacks are stocked for the day. Lunch? Check. Gym shoes? Check. Homework? Check. Show-and-tell item? Check. Planner signed? Whoops....

My third grader has a daily planner which lists her homework tasks, study list and any items that need to discussed with Mom and Dad. This morning I read my daughter's note: "Check with family: Do we have a family plan in case of fire? Do we have a CO detector? Are our smoke detector batteries in working order?" Um... No, No, and I think so?

It was one of those rare mornings when we were all up on time, and had about 15 minutes to spare before rushing off to school. So we sat down at the dining room table and made a plan. In case of fire, or if you hear the smoke alarm, this is what we'll do.... We talked about which doors and windows were available for escape routes. My 5-year old reminded us NOT to grab any toys first. "I learned that at Safety Town," he said. My daughter reminded us to get out as quickly as possible and not to look for pets. Uh... ok. (All the while I'm here thinking how hard that would be for me....) She said the firefighter who visited their school explained that pets will usually get out of the house faster than the people will. So we talked about leaving the door open when we leave so our pooch can find her way out, too.

We also discussed where a fire might start in our home (likely culprits being the kitchen or fireplace), and what that would mean for which escape routes would be safest. We decided as a family which neighbor's house would be our meeting place.

Admittedly, this is something that should have been discussed numerous times long ago. But today was as good of a day as any.

On my to do list for today:
1) Check batteries in our smoke detectors
2) Purchase one more smoke detector for better coverage
3) Purchase a carbon monoxide (CO) detector [Learn about Carbon Monoxide on NFPA website]
4) Check prices on escape ladders for bedroom windows

Another item that was not on my daughter's list, but should certainly be addressed is whether there are fire extinguishers in the house. Here are some tips from NFPA about choosing and using a home fire extinguisher

What about YOU?
Do you have a fire escape plan for your family? Do you have working smoke detectors? Are there enough of them? Do you have a CO2 detector?
Chelsea Fire Station Open House
The Chelsea Area Fire Authority (CAFA) is having a station open house this Sunday, Oct. 12. This is great fun for the kids, and an opportunity to learn about our local fire station and safety in your own home.


Megan (Fee) Torrance said...

Your morning sounds similar to mine. My 1st grade daughter woke up and immediately informed me that I should put baking soda on a kitchen fire, not water. We then practiced the stop-drop-and-roll. ;-)

julies whimsies on a rose said...

Excellent info! Thank you.

Leslie said...

@Megan - You practiced stop drop and roll first thing in the morning? Haha! I think I'd need my alloted coffee for the day before going that far.

@Julie - You are quite welcome! But it's really thanks to the CAFA and Chelsea school district --- they have quite the good program going. :)