Exit Drills in the Home
Teaching a child fire exit drills in the home can save their life in the event of a fire. Do this once every 6 months so your child is comfortable with the escape procedures.
- Explain to your child what you're going to teach them. Tell them it's similar to fire drills in school, and that it's just as important to have fire drills at home.
- Draw a simple diagram of your house and go over it carefully with your child.
- Find 2 escape routes for every room. Take the child to each room and ask them how they would escape if there were a fire.
- Practice opening windows, taking off screens and using ladders (if on a 2nd story). Children must be able to open windows and window locks and use collapsible ladders if on a 2nd story.
- Make sure there are no security bars on bedroom windows - or if there are, that they can be opened and closed easily. You may even want to remove bars from your child's room.
- Sleep with bedroom doors closed, and teach your child that if the smoke detector goes off, they should feel the door with the back of their hand before opening it.
- Teach your child to place the back of their hand on the door to check for heat, starting at the bottom and working up. Then they should place the back of their hand on the doorknob; if there's any heat outside the door, they should be able to feel it.
- Teach your child to crack open the door - if they don't feel heat, they should stay low and check for smoke. If smoke is present, they should use the other way out.
- Choose a place for family members to reconvene outside.
- Tell your child that once they have escaped, they must not go back in the house for any reason until firefighters have deemed the house safe for re-entry.
- Lower your child down from a window before escaping yourself. They may be too scared to escape if you go first and then motion for them to come down.
- Make sure smoke detectors are mounted inside each bedroom in your home, as well as in the hallway outside the bedrooms.
- Test your smoke detectors regularly.