“Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape” is the tagline for this year’s Fire Prevention Week. The NFPA wants to encourage families to promote fire safety awareness in their households, teaching all members that they have roles to play in protecting the home from fire-related emergencies. Here are some ways family members of all ages can contribute to fire preparedness:
Pair Fire Safety with Fun for Littles
A little kid might forget it was his responsibility to remind you to check the smoke alarms on the first of the month, but he won’t forget if you always take him out for ice cream afterwards! By attaching a fun ritual to an important one, you can make fire safety something your kids want to help you remember. Other fun ideas include reviewing your home fire escape plan over homemade pizza, coloring Sparky the Fire Dog activity pages, downloading a fun fire safety app on your phone, playing a “game” of “Stop, Drop, and Roll!”, having a fire safety scavenger hunt, or watching a family movie that encourages important fire safety discussions, such as Big Hero 6 or Despicable Me 2.
Put Teenagers in Charge of Important Documents
You heard us right! Your tech-savvy teen may be the perfect person to help the family transfer copies of all important documents into a cloud service, where a fire cannot destroy them. Put older teenagers in charge of researching the best options for storing sensitive documents online and then put them in charge of scanning and uploading your paperwork. This article provides great tips if you are just getting started with scanning your documents, while this infographic lists which documents you want to make sure are included in the process (we recommend having digital copies of both the “scan” and “store” sections).
Don’t Just Talk, Practice!
If you want to encourage the whole family to pay attention and be actively engaged in the fire safety discussion, then make it interactive. Go over the fire escape plan, then act it out together. Using safety ladders and carrying the dog outside to assemble at the backyard playground may seem a little crazy, but it will leave an impression on your kids that they will recall quickly should a real fire ever occur. Another fun way to make fire safety more hands-on is by practicing using a fire extinguisher. You can see if your local fire protection company is willing to walk your family through a mini-class and give everyone a try at using an actual fire extinguisher. You can also look up activities hosted by your local fire department that provide opportunities to learn more about what actually happens when you call them to help.
Make Sure Older Family Members Are Included
When making your fire escape plan, it is important to include older family members that might live with you. If these members are still of sound mind and body, make them active participants in the planning process and even assign them responsibilities in the event of a fire as well. The task of calling 9-1-1 would be a great one for an older relative to handle while other family members gather infants or pets. If your older family members are not able to take care of themselves, it is very important to establish who will be in charge of getting them to safety and what needs to be remembered (oxygen tank, cane, animal companion, etc.) when helping them escape the house.
By following these tips, you encourage every member of your household to rise to the occasion in an emergency and be a hero! You can find more about this theme at www.firepreventionweek.org.