Families Need Fire Drills At Home - 400 words

Families Need Fire Drills At Home

At school, your child knows what to do when the fire alarm sounds. Several times a year, children are reminded to line up quickly and exit the school calmly.

But does your child know what to do if the smoke alarm goes off at home?

While regular fire drills are required at schools, less than 20% of U.S. households have created and practiced a home fire escape plan. Yet more than 80% of fire fatalities happen at home. In the darkness and confusion of a real fire too many people, especially children, may not be able to respond.

Prevention 1st Foundation, a 501©(3) non-profit injury prevention organization based in Rochester, NY is sponsoring Practice Your Home Fire Drill (www.homefiredrill.org) t o encourage all households to practice their escape plan as part of the biannual Change your clock/Check your batteries public safety initiative. A home fire drill twice a year is recommended by both The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Fire and burns are the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths for children under 14, according to national data from the Home Safety Council and National Fire Protection Association. An average of 782 children die from fire and burns each year, and nearly 80,000 suffer non-fatal injuries.

A report by NFPA and WCCO-TV in Minneapolis graphically demonstrated the importance of practicing a home fire drill. Four families with children were approached to hold a nighttime fire drill in which the smoke alarm would sound and simulated smoke laid down outside the children’s bedrooms. This event was discussed ahead of time with the family including the children.

But when the alarm sounded while the children were asleep, their responses ranged from ignoring the alarm, being too confused or panicked to get out of bed, or rushing out the door right through smoke which, had it been smoke from a real fire, would have overcome them before they could escape.

After reviewing the family’s fire escape plan, and above all practicing it, the drill was tried again. This time all of the children quickly and calmly followed the correct procedures, including staying low as they got out of bed, checking the bedroom door for smoke or heat, turning on their bedroom light, and going to the window where they could be seen by firefighters.