Children as young as three years old can follow a fire escape plan they have practiced often. Yet, many families don't have detailed escape plans, and those that do usually don't practice them.
Practicing a fire escape plan and fire-safe behaviors on a regular basis can mean the difference between life and death.
Draw a basic diagram of your home, marking all windows and doors, and plan two routes of escape out of each room. Consider various fire scenarios when creating your plan and develop actions for a safe escape. Plan for each member of your family, including babies and toddlers who may be unable to escape on their own.
Keep exits clear of debris and toys.
Keep your child's bedroom door closed. If a hallway fire occurs, a closed door may hinder the smoke from overpowering your baby or toddler, giving firefighters extra time for rescue.
Teach toddlers not to hide from firefighters. Their uniforms can be scary in times of crisis. Teach children that firefighters are there to help in an emergency. Take children for a tour at your local fire station so that they can see a firefighter in full gear.
Teach your children how to crawl under the smoke to reduce smoke inhalation.
Also, teach your children how to touch closed doors to see if they are hot before opening. If so, use an alternate escape route.
Have a safe meeting place outside the home and teach children never to go back inside.
Practicing fire-safe behaviors and knowing what to do in an emergency can give your family extra seconds to escape.