|Use this video for adults only, not children. The goal is to motivate adults to both practice home escape plans (walkthroughs while people are awake) and to hold nighttime drills (after children have fallen asleep).|
Practice Turns Knowing Into Doing
The most important point is that parents and caregivers need to conduct home fire escape drills. In order for children to take the knowledge they learn in school from the firefighter-educator about home escape plans, and translate that into action in real-life situations, children must practice.
What to Notice in the Film
When the children actually practiced the home fire escape drill, they reacted correctly. Practice instilled confidence. Practice helped the children who said they understood what they should do, to actually be able to do it. The lesson parents and caregivers need to take home is that practice is the key.
Parents and Caregivers Need to Pick Up Where the Classroom Leaves Off
Firefighters and teachers can give children the knowledge of what to do in an emergency. Parents and caregivers are the only ones who can help children turn that understanding into useable knowledge by conducting drills after children have fallen asleep. Parents and caregivers are responsible for fire safety in the home and making sure there are working smoke alarms, developing and practicing an individual home escape plan. Each family needs to make its own plan for its own house that takes into account the needs of each member.
Drills Help You Adjust Individual Family Escape Plans
If a child does not wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm, or needs help escaping for any reason, the time to find out is during the home fire drill, not during an actual fire emergency. Just as a family's plan will include how to assist babies or physically or mentally challenged children in escaping, children who do not awake to the sound of the smoke alarm may need adult assistance in escaping.
Build a Plan Around Individual Family's Needs
Families may need to adjust their own plan; for example, when adults awake to the sound of the smoke alarm, they go to the child's room and exit the home from there. These are not things that can be done or known in the classroom; they can only be done at home by children's parents and caregivers.
What Parents & Caregivers Should Do
- Be responsible for fire safety in the home; practice fire prevention.
- Make sure there are working smoke alarms on every level of the house. They can give the time needed to get out safely.
- Make a plan; practice it; hold a nighttime drill.
- Find out how your children will respond to a nighttime drill and build your plan around it.
- Through practice, you will help your children go from knowing what to do to doing what they know how to do.
- Teach children to call out to parents and caregivers at the sound of the detector.
What Adults Need to Know About Home Escape Plans -
Have 2 Ways Out of Every Room and a Meeting Place
- Plan two ways out of every room in case one escape route is blocked by smoke or fire.
- Have a meeting place out front where the family can greet firefighters.
- Sometimes families are not all in the same part of the house when fire strikes and you need to tell firefighters if someone is missing.
- Practice your plan while people are awake.
- Hold a nighttime drill.
Additional Points Adults Should Remember
- Get out immediately! There may be less than a minute after the smoke alarm sounds to escape the average home fire before poisonous gases and superheated air heat make it impossible for someone to escape or survive.
- Crawl low under smoke.
- Smoke is the number one killer in home fires.
- Call the fire department from outside the house.
- Get out and stay out! Never re-enter a burning building - let the professionals with the gear and training do that.
- Fire doubles in size every minute.
Special Points of Caution
Some people will discount the value of smoke alarms - it is important to remind people that even if some children won't wake up, many will, and more importantly, the adults will and should be prepared to act quickly.
It is important for parents and caregivers to find out if their children will wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm and once they are awake, what they will do. Time is your enemy in a fire.