Recently my kindergartner came home from school telling me all about a visit from a fireman at school that afternoon. She was extremely excited to tell me she had homework. That “homework” ended up being a checklist of things to do to create a family emergency plan that prepare us for an emergency.
Well, this would be easy, I thought. We’ve already talked about where we would meet in case of a fire.
At dinner that night I asked the family, “Where do we meet if there is a fire in the house?” The answers scared me.
Hubby: “Big tree out front”
Oldest Daughter: “Tree in front yard”
Son: “Tree in front yard”
Middle Daughter: “Mailbox”
5 year old: “Kitchen?”
Thinking we all were prepared for any emergency and all on the same page… I was very wrong. Though we may have talked about our “fire plan” once or twice before, we had clearly not talked about it enough. Especially including the youngest of our family. And though we had talked about it, we had certainly never practiced what to do.
We then had a family meeting where we discussed what to do in case of an emergency and how to get out of each room in the house. The older kids had practiced fire drills at school every year, so they had great input on how to develop our emergency plan. Students practice these fire drills at school many times a year, so it is only smart to practice at home too!
Our Family Emergency Plan:
- Plan an escape route out of your house that includes two ways out of every room.
- Make a meeting place outside of your home to meet when everyone gets out.
- Remember to teach children to crawl under the smoke on their hands and knees.
- Once outside, stay outside.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
Yes, as my husband was pressing the alarm I wanted to holler “Wait, I need to get shoes on!” But the alarm went off and we ran. We ran straight outside from our rooms with our stocking feet leaving everything behind. Practice makes perfect is what they say, and I don’t want my kids to be searching around for shoes in a real emergency.
Our emergency checklist included not only knowing how to get outside and where to meet, but checking smoke detectors. We all know you are supposed to replace batteries in smoke detectors every year (this is your day light savings time reminder) but somehow when we were going around the house checking all the alarms one of ours needed a battery. Taking the time to do all these safety checks is a peace of mind, that if a real life emergency does occur, our family will know what to do. Now, we just need to cover CPR, First Aide, and tornado preparedness.
One step at a time.
Are your kids ready if a fire happens? What emergency plans do you have in place?