Just last week a father here in Atlanta had to throw his two young children from a second story window to protect them from the fire raging through their apartment building. Thank goodness neither of them was seriously hurt. However, with just a little planning we here at PT&A hope that you can avoid ever having to make such a choice. Fire safety at home is all about planning and practice. There are some important things you need to think about in preparing for a fire.
1. Do your children know what to do?
Many fire fighters have found children under beds, in closets, and a myriad of other places in a house fire. Just because your child goes to school and participates in fire drills, does not necessarily mean they will understand what to do at home. You need to prepare your children for what to do if fire strikes at home.
2. Are you prepared for a fire?
So, many times we think we are prepared for an emergency here is a small list of questions for you to consider to see if you are ready for a fire. Where is the fire extinguisher in your house? Do you know how to use it? When was the last time you took it to the Fire Station to have it checked? Are your fire alarms working? Do you check the batteries every six months(Daylight Savings time is a good time to check)? Do you have a Carbon Monoxide detector? Is there a working battery in it in case the electricity goes out? What substances do you use to put out a kitchen fire/grease fire? Where are your important papers kept? When at home where do you keep your purse, cell phone and keys? Do you have an emergency fire kit? If your home is damaged by fire and you can not stay there where will you go? Do you have an emergency financial plan if you need to board your pets or stay at a hotel?
If you could not answer any of these questions then you are not ready for a fire to strike.
3. Do you have an escape route planned?
In order to have an escape route you need to be aware of where all of the doors and windows are in your house and which one is most likely your best escape if you cannot exit via the front door. This is especially important if you live on the second floor. Do you own a collapsible ladder to use to escape from the second floor?
4. What do you need for an emergency kit?
Here is a list of things you should have ready in a bag that is near your escape exit in case of fire: A jump drive with copies of your important papers (include a driver’s license, insurance papers, birth certificates, social security cards, include copies of anything important which may be on your home computer. Medicines that you or your children need to take to ensure your health. You can ask your doctor or pediatrician for samples to keep in your emergency kit. Also you should include an extra set of keys, a check book, an emergency credit/prepaid debit card, and a list of emergency numbers. You will need clothing at least three set for each person including underwear and socks and travel size toiletrtes for each family member (diapers and wet wipes if there is an infant or small child), at least one blanket, one bottle of water for each person, and non-perishable snacks. Include a small first aid kit. I suggest this fire safety kit be kept in a sturdy duffle type bag with a variety of compartments that will allow for toilettes to leak or break if the bag needs to be thrown. I also suggest a baby sling or body attachment carrier is included especially in the case of a second floor escape plan. Place this kit These five steps will hopefully prepare you and your family in case the unthinkable happens. We hear at PT&A hope it never does, but it is better to be prepared than to ever have to face the choice of throwing your child from a second story window to save their fife. Be safe!!