My youngest and I were recently walking home from school. He was chatting about his life when he is an adult (he has plans i tell you, plans!). He had decided that he no longer wanted to have a two-story house, because it would be harder to get out of if there was a fire.
It got us talking about fire safety. He reminded me we have not talked about our family safety plans in a while.
So we are going to tackle that again this coming week and I thought I might share what we do and some links in case you want to think about this with your family.
Every six months or so we have a bit of a family chat about what to do in certain situations. This conversation usually covers fire, earthquake, medical emergencies etc.
But today I want to talk about FIRE.
I usually draw up a house map. Show them where our smoke alarms are (and change the batteries).
We talk about where we might find a fire, and what escape route to use in that instance.
We talk about a safe exit from each room, and then a backup exit in case that one is blocked.
We talk about where we would meet if we have to climb out windows, what neighbour to go to if they need to call 111.
I also let the kids (well the youngest is the most into this now) show me how they can climb out their window.
These conversations don’t scare my children. They like to ask questions, give opinions on things.
They often ask things I would never think to talk about. It is really important I think to include them in these discussions and help them be informed in case they are ever in scary situation.
Talk to them about some of the “rules” and ask them to help you enforce them. Because I know I need to be more vigilant, and if they feel like they can be the “fire safety officer” they feel important. I like them to take these things on board and this helps.
A few rules I know I need to be better at (follow the links below for full lists and find what is right for your family).
- If you must leave the room turn off the stove.
- Do not overload multiboards with double adaptors. Remember – one appliance per wall or multiboard socket.
- Ensure the dryer goes through the full cycle including cool down.
- Regularly dust the grill at the back of the clothes dryer to prevent dust build up and overheating
I also really liked this at the end. I do some of this already but think its a good checklist to go through each evening.
Do a fire check every night before you turn out the light.
- Are the kitchen appliances turned off and safe.
- Are the heaters turned off and furniture and clothes are a metre distance from the fire-place.
- Has the ashtray been emptied into a metal bin outside.
- Has the TV been switched off using the power switch on the set and not the remote control ‘standby’
- Are all candles out.
- Are kitchen and living room doors closed to slow a fire spreading to bedrooms.
- Is the house secure with keys in the deadlocks.
- Are passageways clear for a quick escape.
(Some of these are not applicable, we don’t have ashtrays as we don’t smoke, we have an open plan living area so no doors to close. But the idea of this checklist appeals to me and I talked it over with the kids as well).
Get out stay out game from the New Zealand fire service HERE
Smoke alarm information HERE.
The New Zealand fire service also has a youtube channel HERE.
Fire safety advice HERE (I’m going to admit there are a few areas I am needed to improve after reading this).
There are some good printables and resources on this site for free HERE.
I know these conversations can be a bit scary for little ones.
And I certainly don’t want you to scare your kiddos. But it is so important to have a family plan for what to do in emergencies.
Only go into as much detail as you thin they can understand and cope with.
Let them see you change batteries in smoke alarms, let them see you be prepared as that opens up conversation.