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Our kids are now at the ages where we are beginning to have the uncomfortable, but necessary and important conversations around health and safety. One of the most important “logistical” safety issues for me, is the topic of fire safety. I’m going to be completely up front and honest with you… one of my biggest fears is my home catching on fire and something happening to my kids or my family. Our stuff I could not care less about, but my people? Huge fear. (Real talk: a couple months ago I literally couldn’t sleep because of this issue and so I, naturally did what any other rational human would do and I went online and ordered a fire ladder for our second story window. My husband thought this was funny. I thought I was being responsible. Haha!)
I’ve struggled a lot in the past year with anxiety (which I have shared with you before) and so, naturally, one of the things I’ve been anxious about is making sure my kids know what to do in the rare case of a house fire. BUT, in really talking through with other people some of my own personal anxious thoughts and fears around this topic, I know that knowledge and information are key in arming yourself and protecting yourself and your family in the case of an emergency.
So, a couple months ago, I sat down with my kids and began to talk through some basic fire safety tips and I thought it might be helpful to share with you what we did with our kids. Now, I am not an expert in this area, but I’m just sharing what has worked for our family so far.
1. We have fire extinguishers on each floor of our home and we checked to make sure they are not expired.
We showed our kids where the fire extinguishers are, what they do, and how to reach them / retrieve them in the case of an emergency. We explained that only mommy or daddy should use the fire extinguishers and should only be used in an emergency.
2. We discuss basic safety tips around fire hazards.
3. We have a fire ladder in the closet of our master bedroom.
Yes it was sort of a silly 1:30am purchase, but in the end, purchasing a fire ladder gave us peace of mind that we could get out of our second story in the rare case of an emergency. Our kids know where it is in case they need to retrieve it.
4. We sleep with bedroom doors CLOSED.
This is so key… sleeping with the bedroom doors CLOSED is paramount in the case of a fire. Open doors breed oxygen and oxygen feeds fire. We have explained, AT LENGTH, that if there is EVER a fire in our home, our kids are NOT to open the door. They MUST wait for mommy or daddy to come get them and, if for some reason, we can’t get to them… that the firefighter will come get to them through their window.
We also talk through the importance of crouching down low and crawling along the floor since smoke rises.
This is, honestly, not the most fun conversation to have… and we try to make it as lighthearted, yet serious, as possible. On their level, we explain that they will be safe if they just trust mommy and daddy and the firefighters to come get them. They are not quite at the age where they could safely get out on their own. When they reach that age, we will discuss a new plan with them.
I do realize that in the event of a fire, who knows what could happen, but we want to be as prepared as possible.
5. We regularly test our smoke detectors and replace them every 10 years.
I did not learn this until recently, but smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be replaced every 10 years. In fact, it’s actually the law! Did you know ALL states have legislation requiring smoke alarms? To check the requirements in your state, visit here… The smoke alarms that we currently have in our home I believe are original to the home, so we definitely needed to change them out. We did replace batteries (WHY DO THE BATTERIES ALWAYS DIE AT 3am?!), but I wanted to make sure our actual alarms were replaced.
We just installed new First Alert 10-Year Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms on each floor of our home. We loveeeee these First Alert alarms because they offer hassle-free protection for a decade! The benefits of the First Alert 10-year alarm are that you WON’T HAVE THE LATE NIGHT LOW BATTERY CHIRPS!! (HALLELUJAH!!!!)… which means you don’t have to climb on a chair or ladder at 3am and change the battery. BLESS. The battery lasts for the life of the alarm. Another amazing feature is that the 10-year alarm also will tell you when it is time to replace the alarm.
6. We plan an escape route and talk through it with our kids.
In the case of a fire or Carbon Monoxide alert on our First Alert alarms, we have discussed with the kids how we will best get out of the house safety. Again, we can’t plan for everything, but we can be as prepared as possible.