October 13th is Home Fire Drill Day. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA,) a home fire that may require the services of a fire restoration company happens every 86 seconds. If the smoke alarms went off in your house, would your kids know what to do? Even if you’ve talked about it in the past, kids need practice to reinforce things they’ve learned. Having fire drills at home (just like they do at school) on a regular basis will ensure that your kids will be calm, rehearsed and ready if that alarm starts to sound.
Fire drills can actually be fun for the kids, but it’s also important to make sure they’re taking it seriously. Additionally, while an organized, scheduled fire drill is a great start, once you’ve got “the drill” down, you should also do some surprise drills in the morning or at bedtime, so you’re sure the kids can process what’s happening when they’re not expecting it and will recall the steps you’ve practiced. Home Fire Drill Day is also a great time to take a moment to change the batteries in your smoke detectors to be sure your family will get a timely warning in the event of a fire in your home.
Here are some things to think about when you’re setting up a home fire drill:
- Pick a safe spot. Designate an area away from the house that the kids know they should head to anytime the smoke alarms go off. It might be the next door neighbor’s house, or the end of your driveway.
- Set a timer. Shoot for a complete evacuation in two minutes. Remind the kids that they are not to stop and grab toys or other possessions. Possessions can be restored or replaced. Their only goal is to get outside the house in two minutes or less and help their brothers and sisters get out as well.
- Keep your cool. Remind the kids how important it is to stay calm during a fire drill. They should move as quickly as possible to the safe spot, but no one should run or push.
- Assign responsibility. If you have kids under the age of six, every member of the family needs to be in agreement as to who’s responsible for tending to the youngest family members in the event of emergency, so that everyone can spring into action without question.
- Practice at night. Once the kids have successfully completed several daytime fire drills, make sure you also practice fire drills at night. Everything feels different in the dark. The kids should have flashlights in their nightstands and be ready to grab them to make their way to the safety point without tripping or falling in the dark.
- Practice in different seasons. At various times of the year and in different weather, planned escape routes will have different characteristics. Windows may stick in the humidity of summer or, if fire happens in the winter, windows might be frozen or the roof might be icy. If that happens, is there an alternate route? Make sure the family has a Plan A and a Plan B.
Every family needs to have an emergency plan and every member of the family, from the oldest to the youngest, needs to fully understand it. If fire strikes in the kitchen or any other room in your house that causes fire damage requiring the services of a fire restoration company, make sure everyone knows the steps to take to safety. Making home fire drills fun and educational will keep the kids engaged and take the fear out of it and conducting home fire drills on a regular basis will make getting to safety automatic in the event of an actual emergency.
Hays + Sons is the Official Restoration Company of the Indianapolis Colts. While we hope that you never need our fire restoration services, if you do experience the stress and mess that can be caused by fire damage, call the restoration company the Colts call. It’s good to know that the team of certified and trained fire restoration experts at Hays + Sons are nearby and just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With 140 employees, 120 vehicles, and eight separate locations, Hays + Sons has you covered. Our fire damage restoration experts are ready to serve you at any of our locations in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lafayette, Muncie, Crown Point, Columbus, & Fort Wayne.