We were snuggled together on the couch, watching my son’s favorite firetruck video for the millionth time, when it dawned on me. Sure, my kids knew everything they could know about firetrucks, but did they know what to do in an actual fire?
Discussing fire safety with kids is so important.
I don’t remember my parents running fire drills or even talking about what to do if our house were on fire. Sure, at school we were told to “get out of the house fast” and we learned “stop, drop, and roll!” But in a real emergency, that’s not enough.
Kids need to know what to do if they are ever in a fire. And preschool age is the perfect place to start.
Fire Drill Practice at Home
When practicing fire drills with your preschooler, I suggest you start with your smoke detectors.
Loud sounds can be scary for little ones. Show them where the smoke detectors are and talk about what they do. Then press the test button so your child can hear what it sounds like. If your child is like mine, with sensitive ears, you may want to have them cover their ears at first.
Once your child is familiar with the sound of the smoke alarm, discuss what they should do if the alarm goes off.
Practice with your child how they should get out of the house.
Start in the bedroom, since most deadly fires happen at night when the family is asleep.
Teach your child to get out of bed when they hear the alarm and crawl to their door. If they are old enough you can explain why it is important to crawl — because smoke rises and they want to be breathing the cleaner air.
Show them how to test their door by feeling it to see if it is hot. If it’s hot, they should not open it as the fire could rush into the room. The next step depends on your child’s ability. If your child is able to open their bedroom window, you can teach them to get out that way.
Practice having them test the door, open it and crawl to the exit door and leave the house.
Pick a safe place OUTSIDE where your family will meet.
Little ones often worry about their toys. Remind them that you can always replace their toys. They should NOT go back for toys, or anything, in a burning house.
Finally, remember one time isn’t enough. Set a day to practice your fire drill each month.
You may also enjoy:
- “F” Is for Firetruck — Preschool learning activities using firetrucks
- Dr. Seuss Crafts & Activities
We go over fire safety with our girls all of the time. It does pay off too. One day, our smoke alarm went off from just something that had dripped in the oven and made it all smokey. I saw a light brown and blonde blur go by me with a phone in their hand and our dog in one of their arms in a matter of seconds. They heard the noise, knew to get out of the house as soon as possible and take a phone to call 911. Thankfully, caught their attention before they started dialing but I was very proud of them. They were only 5 and 3 at the time.
Only 5 and 3 at the time? Amazing! Hope mine catch on like that!
Our daughter is only 9 months old so she isn’t old enough for a fire drill but it is something I want to do with her when she is old enough to understand. I think the biggest thing is making sure they know not to grab anything, which is hard! I can think of 50 different things I myself would want to take with me. We keep wanting to get a fireproof safe and just haven’t yet.
Maybe it would be fun to have a kid get to pick one small toy/trinket to have left in the fireproof safe, then if heaven forbid there was a fire it might be easier to convince them not to try to look for a toy to take.
That IS the hardest part – convincing them to leave it all behind. My 4 year old hasn’t complained when I said that so far, but I don’t think she understands that it would all be gone. We have a fireproof safe, I need to put a few other items in it – like pics on CD that just haven’t made it there yet… That’s what I would worry about the most, I think.
Malika Bourne says
so happy you posted about fire safety. every family must have a plan that the kids understand. Trust me it will say lives. (another anecdote.)
Tornado season is upon us. I want to encourage you and all of your blogging followers to please post about tornado safety. Malika
With the tornadoes that touched down not far from here, I have been considering posting about tornado safety. I think storms scare me more than the possibility of a house fire.
That is great that you practice fire safety with your family… Not enough families do that sort of thing and its very important. What you practice could someday save a life. I have to say I have not trained at all with my family. My kids know what the smoke detectors do (mainly because I’ve burned a meal or two) but that’s about it. In addition to fire safety it would probably be a good idea to teach them proper response for other types of emergencies (medical, intrusion, etc…)
Oh, I agree, we have talked a little about what to do in stranger situations and they know we go downstairs when the weather is bad. As they get older we will cover other emergency situations.
We have collapsible fire ladders due to the height from some of the bedrooms to the ground, and periodically go over where they are with everyone. This motivated me to go check on mine. The need to think about fire safety never ends, whether you have little kids or not.
Really, you are right. No matter what the age of your children, it’s important to go over what to do in a fire. I’m glad you were inspired to check your stuff after reading my post!