Parenting: Fire safety for preschoolers

October 26, 2010

Perhaps the most thrilling part of the day was getting to climb around a fire engine. But, they also learned a lot of valuable lessons about surviving a fire.

They crawled though a "smoke house," a glass enclosure filled with smoke to instruct children to stay low, where they can breathe best.

They watched a firefighter put on all his protective gear, including the respirator and then took turns approaching the firefighter and shaking his hand. This is important to show that, even though firefighters may look and sound like monsters in their gear, that they are friends and children shouldn't be afraid of them.

The National Fire Protection Association says families should develop and practice a home escape plan at least twice a year. Families should conduct occasional fire drills so your children will become confident they can escape.

But one of the most important thing parents can do for their children's safety is to make sure every home has working smoke alarms. This importance was highlighted by last week's tragic fire in Harrisburg, in which one adult and four children aged 2-4 were killed. Fire investigators say a space heater likely sparked the blaze and the home was equipped with smoke alarms, but they were not in working order.

According to the NFPA, smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half. You should replace your smoke alarm batteries twice/year or whenever the smoke alarm "chirps", indicating a low battery. If you can't afford smoke detectors or batteries, please contact your local fire department. Operation 6abc Save A Life donates smoke alarms and batteries to fire departments across our region to give to families in need.

Let's work together to keep our children safe.

Happy parenting!

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