It’s hard to keep track of all the things kids are missing out on right now by learning from home all (or most) of the time, from the social to the educational. One thing you might not have thought of, though, particularly for little kids: They’re not practicing all those regular fire drills.
While we should obviously be teaching kids about fire safety within the home even when times are normal, the actual practice of hearing an alarm and following a procedure to get one’s self to safety might be a thing that schools are typically more consistent with than parents. Now (and really, always), we’ve got to practice fire drills at home.
Scott Fitzpatrick, a battalion chief with the Omaha Fire Department, tells the Omaha World-Herald that parents should teach kids that while fire is a tool that helps us with things like cooking, it can also be dangerous and can hurt us:
Next assignment is a home fire drill. Everyone should know two ways out of the house and understand that once they have exited, they must stay out.
“Don’t go back for toys or stuffed animals or if anyone else is trapped,” he says. That’s the job of the fire department, which asks immediately upon arrival if anyone is in the house and the best way to reach them.
Families need to agree on a meeting point once they’re outside. Fitzpatrick says for his family it’s the mailbox, but it could be a tree or a neighbour’s house. Make the whole exercise fun.
Remember that you should have at least one working fire alarm on each floor of your home, including the basement. Test them at least twice a year (once a month is even better) and replace the batteries once or twice a year. Let the kids see and hear you you doing this so they know what the alarm sounds like.
The Safe Kids Worldwide organisation has more fire safety tips for families:
Safe Kids also recommends practicing that family fire drill twice a year.