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.
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