According to a Firefighter Nation article and other local news reports, a young girl in Monroe, Washington recently hid in a toy chest in response to a home fire. Fortunately, Snohomish County Fire District 7 firefighters found her in time to get her out safely. However, this incident underscores the fact that everyone - adults and children alike – needs to learn how to plan for a home fire so they can get out quickly and safely.
A home plan that’s been developed and practiced by all members of a household ensures that everyone has the skill-set and know-how to protect themselves in a fire situation. Even children as young as three and four years old can be empowered by these efforts to take swift, appropriate action.
Home escape planning and practice also helps parents and caregivers figure out in advance who they’re responsible for assisting in a fire situation, including young children, older adults and/or other household members who need assistance escaping safely. In absence of advance planning, people tend to make decisions that inhibit or even eliminate their ability to escape safely.
As the vast majority of people continue to stay at home during the current COVID-19 pandemic, this challenging time presents local fire departments and safety officials with a unique opportunity to encourage households to develop a home escape plan and practice it. Along with being a family activity that gets everyone working together, it’s an effort that has potentially life-saving impact. And where the risk of home fires remains higher while people continue to stay at home (and continue to do more cooking and heating, and use electrical equipment), being adequately prepared in the event of a home fire is more important than ever.
Families with young children are a particularly captive audience right now, as they work to keep everyone busy, engaged and learning – they’re actively seeking out games, activities and lesson plans. Take advantage of NFPA’s free educational resources, many of which can be easily shared with your communities on social media, emails, websites and other online platforms. Steps like these can prevent the dangerous actions people often take when they aren’t properly educated about what to do in fire situation.