fire extinguisher practice

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There was a lot of excitement about moving into our new house. New rooms for everyone. Clean and inviting floorplan. More space. It was thrilling for us as a family. Yet, as the move-in date approached, I began feeling a bit of anxiety. It was going to be the first time that Colby and I would be on a different level of the house than the kids in several years. In fact, we picked a floorplan that specifically gave us that privacy. But, now, I was having second thoughts.

How to Teach Kids Fire Safety Tips at Home

Fire Safety Tips

Did you know 9 in 10 structure fires occur in the home according to the National Fire Protection Association? This frightens me to no avail. I don’t constantly worry about it, but is a big concern for a few reasons. (1) All of our kids are upstairs. If there was a fire, would I feasibly be able to get to them? (2) Our house is the tallest on the block and we live where lightning storms happen frequently. If our house was struck by lightning, how quickly would Colby and I, sleeping downstairs, hear the alarms and be able to react? As a parent, I believe these are valid fears. My children’s safety would be my first priority in the event of a fire.

fire escape ladder for kids

On Saturday, October 14, 2017, Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen, will celebrate the second annual Home Fire Drill Day along with their partners – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Red Cross (ARC) as well as other Make Safe Happen Advisory Council members. We have talked about practicing a drill ever since we moved in 5 months ago, but had yet to do so. Therefore, through our partnership with Nationwide, we used the Make Safe Happen app to finally mark it off our checklist. With the cold season upon us and fireplaces around the community, I tend to be on heightened alert.

fire extinguisher practice

One thing Colby and I made sure of when we moved in was that each bedroom upstairs was equipped with a fire ladder. Each of the girls’ rooms, in addition to the foster room, have a ladder in case of a fire and the kids have been instructed on how to use them. Additionally, because of our agency regulations for fostering, we have fire escape routes and fire extinguishers both upstairs and down. Taking that extra safety step was something we were completely on board with for the safety of all of our children. According to a Nationwide Make Safe Happen survey of more than 1,000 parents with children under 13 years of age, nearly 7 in 10 parents (69%) think they could do more to keep their child/children safe in their home. I’m sure most of us agree that we would do whatever it takes.

fire drill escape ladder

One step we can take today is to have a home fire drill. It’s an easy task and could literally be life-saving in the event of an emergency. We teach our kids so much on a daily basis, there should be no reason why fire safety in the home isn’t one of those things we educate them about. The Make Safe Happen app can even make the drill easier. The app shares all sorts of tips to help keep children as safe as possible, including room-by-room, age-by-age tips. It even includes a 2-minute timer to practice home fire drills against the clock.

Make Safe Happen app

Ready to do the fire drill?

As a family, choose a safety spot for everyone to meet at once safely outside the house. The spot should be a safe distance away and easy for the youngest child in your family to get to and remember. Explain to the kids about what to do once the smoke alarm goes off. In fact, test the alarms to let them hear the sound and understand what it means. Each bedroom and each level of your home should be equipped with smoke alarms. Once these basics are covered, you’re ready to begin the drill.

Fire Drill Steps

  1. Have kids head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin.
  2. Got kids under 6? Assign adults to help anyone who’ll need it.
  3. Put one adult in charge of sounding the smoke alarm and running the drill.
  4. Next, sound the smoke alarm, start the timer and have everyone quickly get out of the house and to their safety spot.
  5. Once everyone gets to the safety spot, stop the timer. If you all made it in under two minutes, you each get an imaginary gold medal. If not, give it another try.
  6. In a real fire, get to the safety spot, then call 911 and keep everyone close until firefighters arrive.

Did you beat the timer? Keep trying. Many Americans (62%) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape and about 18% believe they have ten minutes or more to get out (American Red Cross), when in reality, a family has less than two minutes to get out safely. Again, this fire drill could be life-saving. Practice makes perfect!

Pledge to practice your own Home Fire Drill on October 14, 2017 at HomeFireDrillDay.com.

Additionally, find more tips for home safety in general, beyond fire safety, at MakeSafeHappen.com.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nationwide Insurance. The opinions and text are all mine.

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