My wife and I were just blessed with our first grandchild, back in July. This new addition to the family got me thinking about home escape plans; odd I know, but this is how I think. Babies create an immediate change to any home escape plan in the case of a fire, because they depend on others to get them out. This is something that must be thought out before a fire occurs. Whose responsibility will it be to get the baby? If normal access is cut off between you and the baby’s location, what are the options?
It is my hope that you would do everything possible to prevent a fire, but accidents happen. Proactive, before the fire, attention to this issue might mean the difference between everyone getting out alive and someone losing their life because a lack of preparedness. The key to success here is planning and practice. Your school-age children will practice many school fire drills, preparing them for what to do in the event of their school catching on fire. The most dangerous period for a fire injury or fatality to occur is when we are at home asleep. Why would we not practice a home escape drill during this period of time?
Another absolute is that when a fire occurs in your home, you need the earliest notification possible. Properly placed and a proper amount of smoke alarms in your home will give you the time that you need. Keep in mind that older constructed homes may have battery operated smoke alarms that are not connected together, which means that they will activate, possibly one-at-a-time. This will make hearing the alarm a bit more difficult. If there are hearing impaired people in your home, then there needs to be a system that includes a strobe light that comes on when the alarm is activated.
Your family needs every advantage available when a fire occurs. You note that I said when and not if. If you have the mindset that a fire will one day occur, then I believe that you will be more prepared than the person who says “it will never happen to me.” The large majority of people have never given this a moment’s thought. As a result, people die in fires each and every day.
The focus of this article was to remember your baby or adolescent child, in the event of a fire in your home. Realizing that you have someone else that you must consider in your escape causes challenges that must be overcomed. As stated earlier, think through the challenges before the smoke alarms activate. If you wait until then, it may be too late!
While we are remembering them, I encourage you to remember the men and women that gave their lives trying to save others on 9-11-2001.