There are a couple of things that as a parent worries me. One of them is fire safety. What would happen if we were woken by the smoke alarm?
At schools/nurseries even work places they have frequent fire drills so everyone knows what to expect. It is drilled into us that we drop everything and leave via a safety escape. But we are awake and aware. If the smoke alarm went off during the day (And it has many times! Thanks to the oven!) I am confident I could get everyone to safety. At night though, that is different story.
Fire evacuation should be something practised but at the very least prepared for!
This post has been inspired by our smoky oven (which reminds me it needs a clean) but when our smoke alarm went off rather than running down stairs Jack and Oliver stayed in their room! Oliver shouting for us and Jack I can only assume still playing on his tablet. Where was the urgency? They certainly didn’t show any! Now the boys are older I think it’s time we need to sit and plan with them! Just in case.
Making the Fire evacuation plan
One of my biggest fears is what would happen if there was a fire downstairs and we were trapped? Whilst I was awake one night I was googling ways to escape a house fire and one of these popped up. Portable escape ladders, they hang over the side of a window sill ensuring a safe route down. Meaning days of throwing a mattress out the window for a soft landing a long gone!
Although it then got me thinking with the urgency of needing to be evacuated how could we safely carry the 3 boys down? Jack could climb down although very scared and we would need to encourage him but I think we could do it and between Mark and I Oliver and Arthur could be carried. But then what happens next?
So rather than not knowing I have set about preparing. How to give you the best opportunities to escape a house fire.
Test your alarms!!
In our house we have 3 smoke alarms and a separate carbon monoxide detector. We live in a private rented property so it is our landlords responsibility to ensure we have smoke alarms and monoxide detectors although we do test them regularly (Every Week). They are wired into the mains as it is the safest option.
Plan your route
If the fire was in your kitchen could you safely evacuate? What if the fire started by the front door? Or fuse box?
Our stairs are literally feet away from our front door separated by an internal door. We make sure each evening that the internal door is closed as it could give us vital seconds if needed.
If you couldn’t get downstairs is there a safe way to evacuate out a window? Do you have a portable escape ladder? Or maybe a baby carrier to hand to help carry children? Is there a porch or roof you can climb onto and then safety shimmer down? It is worth making a note of where you will go.
It’s also worth noting to make sure your escape route is clear. Is there stuff stored on your stairs? Or by your front door? In case of a fire could they get in the way? Prevent you from escaping?
Escaping a house fire is traumatic enough but nowhere near as scary as it will be for children. It is worth preparing them so in the event of a fire they know what to do. Practice your escape route, (maybe not climbing out of a top floor window though!). The more you practice or even talk about it the more calm they will be.
Prepare a bag
This is the ultimate in preparation. An evacuation bag. A simple backpack which contains everything you need for the initial few hours of after a house fire. Juice cartons and biscuits/snacks for the kids. Sticker book/magazine to keep them occupied. A list of phone numbers that you may need (Friends/family as well as may insurance company numbers). Pay as you go mobile phone with credit you never know if you need it.
I think this is a topic which is going to be spoken about quite a bit with the boys. We want them to know what to do without being scared.
What do other bloggers do?
I thought I would ask other bloggers in the Parent community to see if they have plans in place. Here is what they said
Natasha from MummyAndMoose – Nope. The only instruction my children have is “there is no such thing as a good alarm.” My Dad who I vaguely recall used to have us do timed practise evacuations would be most unimpressed with my slapdash approach.
Katy from KatyKicker – We live in a flat on the 3rd (top) floor – with no lift. We practiced learning how to open up the roof hatch once (and it promptly broke and was open for 18 months until they fixed it). I always worry about us being up so high and the danger. We check our alarms at least weekly, plus I always make sure the landlord keeps on top of maintenance of the fire equipment that clears the stairwells of smoke so you can escape safely. When my daughter is old enough I’ll make sure she knows the important of this too.
Naomi from NotAPerfectParent – We’re similar to Katy but we’re 4th floor with no lift. If there is a fire in other flats we are told we have stay in our flat as all doors are fire doors. If the fire is in our flat then we have to obviously get out. We always make sure the fire alarm in the flat is working. It does make me worry though especially now with a baby (well toddler now)
Katie from Mumof2point5 – Yes we installed fire alarms last year and talked the kids through what to do if the alarm goes off. We test it regularly to make sure it’s working and the kids always react. In fact my partner did it yesterday and my 3 year old son ran to the top of the stairs and shouted ‘Daddy is there a fire?’. I’m glad they know what it means. Forgot to add our alarm sounds then has a voice saying ‘Fire, fire. Carbon monoxide warning’