Last night while I was cooking dinner the oven started smoking due to some greasy baking paper left on a tray (got to love when the husband uses the oven last!). As a result the smoke alarms started blasting through the house. The boys, who are 8 and 3, were playing in the toy room, went into fire drill mode. I could hear the oldest instructing the youngest to get down and crawl to the front door. As they did this I could hear them giving each other instructions about what to do next, and checking that the other one was doing ok. They got to the front door, opened it and made their way to our meeting point which is the next door neighbour’s letterbox. I followed them out, and went through a list of questions with them. What do you do if mummy and daddy don’t come out straight after you? What do you do if the front door is where the fire is? What do you do when the fire men arrive? All general and easy questions that they answered in turn, proud of their efforts.
A neighbour a couple of doors away was in their front yard and was looking at me like I was a crazy person. I called out “just a fire drill” and she nodded looking at me like I said we were preparing for the mothership to arrive. It got me thinking. There are over 11 000 house fires every year, and winter is the prime time due to many using heating appliances in the home. Tragically lives are lost, and last week we were reminded of this when a 2 year old toddler passes away in a house fire on his birthday.
With a husband and brother in the smoke alarm business, I have been forcibly educated about smoke alarms, and the fact that there is a big difference between a $20 alarm and a $100 alarm. I know all about the legislation, however I know many people are not as informed – because honestly it is not something that we think about. By law all houses should have working smoke alarms. Here is a link to the Queensland laws regarding what your house should have https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/smoke-alarms
Be fire prepared is more than just taking precautionary measures – it is about educating yourself and your kids about what to do if the worse happens. Our houses are more secure than ever, however that means it is harder than ever to escape if a fire breaks out – so have an evacuation plan in place, and practising using it. This way you and your kids are prepare. Each time the alarm goes off in our house we automatically go into drill mode – practicing what we have talked about. We have discussed all different possibilities that could happen and have worked out what the response should be.
As we head into the “danger” season, I urge you to put fire safety into the topics you discuss with your kids. In Queensland, and several other states you can also book a FREE safehome visit with a real FIREMAN to check the possible hazards in your home. An hour with a fireman – fun for both you and the kids As Ronald McDonald taught me as a kid, when there is a fire – Get down low and Go Go Go!