Thank you First Alert for sponsoring this post. October is Fire Prevention Month! Help ensure your home and family are ready for the unexpected by installing smoke & CO alarms and having fire extinguishers!
Did you know that October is Fire Prevention Month? In 1922, the National Fire Protection Association named the second week of October Fire Prevention Week in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. We’ve extended the awareness to the whole month, and this year I’ve partnered with First Alert to share some important family fire safety tips! First Alert encourages your family to Be Ready for the Unexpected. You can learn more about First Alert and fire protection beyond what I have shared here on their website.
The most important thing about fire safety is to plan ahead and take preventative measures. No one plans to have a fire in their house. Whenever the girls see a firetruck, they are always quick to tell me that we don’t need a fire truck at our house because we don’t have fires. I am always quick to remind them that fires are unexpected and while not hoped for, could happen at any home.
To be prepared, First Alert recommends gathering as a family and discussing fire safety. We created a fire safety checklist to go over and check off together. We got the girls involved and made a fun learning experience out of it, while sharing some valuable information with them as well.
Fire Safety Checklist
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level and in every bedroom of your home.
- Test your alarms regularly.
- Change the batteries in your alarms at least every six months or upgrade to a 10-year sealed battery alarm to eliminate battery replacements for the life of the alarm.
- Place a fire extinguisher on every level and in common spaces like the kitchen.
- Plan and practice your emergency escape plan at least twice a year.
So, first we went around the house counting smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (hello math lesson!). I never knew you needed one in every bedroom, so had never thought to check before. A helpful saying to remember is “every level, every bedroom.” It’s also best to install alarms on the ceiling if possible We counted 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… check!
Next we tested the alarms. To do that just press and hold the test button on the alarm. We thought it was helpful to have the girls hear it, even though it was ear-piercing, so they would be familiar with the concept and sound. Check!
Now if you have a regular alarm you will need to change the batteries every six months (that’s a lot of batteries!), but you can upgrade to a First Alert Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with a 10-year sealed battery to avoid those regular battery replacements. Our house has 10-year sealed battery alarms, but it is coming up on 10 years old, so we went ahead and replaced them with new 10-year sealed battery alarms. Check!
Next we made sure we had a fire extinguisher on every level of the home. We have one in the kitchen, one in the garage, one upstairs in the laundry room, and one by the grill (we’ve collected a lot of fire extinguishers over the years). In this post, you’ll see that we have the First Alert Home Fire Extinguisher which is designed to fight common household fires. Did you know that the #1 cause of fires is unattended cooking? I know I have personally caught some tortilla chip on fire in the broiler and was thankful to have the fire extinguisher handy! (Let’s just say I’m not the world’s greatest cook). With a lot of people doing more cooking at home these days, it’s even more important to have a fire extinguisher close by. We did a quick show and tell (minus the fire lol) with the girls while I was cooking dinner. An easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is to remember the acronym PASS, which stands for pull (the pin), aim (the nozzle at the base of the fire), squeeze (the trigger), and sweep (from side to side). Check!
Finally, we gathered together to go over our fire escape plan. Brad and I chatted in advance of the meeting to get our plan in place before relaying to the girls and there was a lot to think through. Some of the important things we considered and relayed to the girls were:
- The girls capabilities at almost 4 and 15 months. What could they possibly manage to do on their own and when/where would they absolutely need assistance from us? How can we best set them up for success if we are incapacitated and unable to help?
- Explaining fire emergency awareness. We reviewed high level smoke/fire concepts with the girls, as well as a potential fire danger communication plan. We wanted to empower the girls to bring awareness to a fire emergency if they are the first to encounter it. We figured as much extra time we can buy in that situation is extremely valuable. The important concepts we shared with them are to not approach the potential fire but get away from it, audibly and very loudly announce the concern (especially if they are stuck), and if it’s safe to find an adult or if it’s unsafe to get out immediately if possible.
- Two ways out of each room/area in case of one route being blocked by fire. This is always a tough thing to consider in a two-story home. We actually have a First Alert fire ladder in the guest bedroom in case we need to climb out any windows. We also contemplated if the fire separated us from the girl’s rooms and were happy to have a good plan for getting around that.
- A safe meeting spot outside of the home. We chose to make a meeting spot in the backyard (at the swing set) because the back door is the only one our girls are capable of opening on their own. We also set the mailbox as the alternate meeting space if access to the back of the house is blocked.
- Emphasizing the get out, stay out concept, especially with an overly clingy toddler. This was a hard point to get across, but I didn’t want anyone running back in looking for mommy or daddy. We were super firm about needing to get out of the house if you can safely no matter where mommy and daddy are and wait for us at the meeting spot.
After reviewing the plan together, I feel a lot better about our family’s preparation for a potential fire emergency. We will review the plan at least twice a year (probably more since they are so young and need a lot of repetition for things to stick). Check!
I encourage your family to take a moment to complete your own fire safety checklist and Be Ready for the Unexpected. Review a fire safety plan with your family today! And don’t forget to check out First Alert to cover all your fire protection product needs! They are the #1 brand in fire safety and definitely one you can trust. You can find First Alert products at your local Lowes or check out all of their products along with helpful safety tips on their website.