My family and I moved into a new (well, new to us) house a few months ago. I downloaded the neighborhood app, and one of the posts on the app referred to an event called Home Fire Drill Day. I had never heard of it, but it made sense. We have fire drills at my job and my kids have fire drills at school, but how often do we practice them at home, where we spend most of our time? Not much, in my experience. Since we were in a new house in a new neighborhood, I thought it was a good idea to get the rest of the family in on the fire safety action.
My 6-year-old son had recently completed his first school fire drill, so as my husband and I tested the house's smoke detectors, he told us everything he knew about fire drills. I asked if he wanted to be our fire captain and help us figure out our own fire plan. He’s still young enough that projects like this are an enthusiastic “Yes!” My daughter, not so much. She rolled her eyes (how is she so good at that well before her teenage years!?) but turned off the TV and joined us.
We walked the kids through the house room by room, pointing out the possible exits. My daughter’s room is on the second floor, so my husband pulled out his phone and ordered a fire ladder online. After going through each room and finding exit routes, we went outside to choose a meeting place. My son pointed to our neighbor’s flag pole. “What about that?” It was easily reachable but far enough away from our house to be safe from fire, on the same side of the street, and will definitely not move anywhere anytime soon, so after checking with the neighbor, we settled on the flag pole.
The final part of our day of fire safety was testing out our plan. I asked the kids to go to their bedrooms and pretend like they were asleep (more eye-rolling). I waited a minute and then pressed the smoke detector alarm button. My son came running out of his room, flew out the door, and made it to the flag pole in about a minute. My daughter halfheartedly strolled behind him, taking her good old time. Neither checked their bedroom doors before opening them or practiced crawling, so we definitely have more work to do, but it’s a start.
My daughter’s eye-rolling won’t kill us, but I understand that a fire might. I hope we never, ever need these skills, but if an emergency comes, it’s my job to give my family the best shot at surviving it safely. Home Fire Drill Day is just the beginning.