October is National Fire Prevention Month
Help your kids learn fire safety at one of these community events coming up in October.
Fire station open houses, hands-on demonstrations and live training, refreshments and prizes are all on tap this year.
You can even spray a real fire hose and watch the Jaws of Life in action at the Georgetwon Township event.
No matter where you end up, these events provide a great opportunity to meet the helpers serving our community and thank them for their service.
Fire Station Open Houses + Fire Safety Events Nearby
(Please note: event dates and times may be subject to change. Please check with your local fire department for more details).
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EEK! Are you Prepped in Case of a House Fire?
As a parent, I say it all the time: “Safety first!”
I do my best to practice what I preach, too. Our kids have bike helmets, life jackets, 5-point harness car seats and they take swim lessons. But despite my efforts, I know there are holes in my teaching. There are things we aren’t prepared for – like a fire at home.
I wanted credible information on fire safety, so I went straight to the source: the Grand Rapids Fire Department.
GRFD Answers Basic Fire Safety Questions
We all know to get out of the house in the event of a fire, but do we have the right amount of smoke detectors?
Do your kids know what to do if their initial path to escape a fire is blocked?
The Grand Rapids Fire Department answered some common questions about fire safety in our homes.
Q: If we smell smoke or discover our house is on fire, what should we do first?
A: This is easy – GET OUT AND STAY OUT! Then call 911.
Q: Where should I have smoke detectors?
A: Smoke detectors should be on every floor of the house and inside and outside every sleeping area. For example, we have smoke detectors just inside the door of every bedroom, and also outside in the hallway. There is no need for smoke detectors to be installed in laundry rooms, bathrooms or kitchens.
Just as important as having smoke detectors is testing smoke detectors. Test them monthly to ensure they work. Also, they should be less than 10 years old. The date should be printed somewhere on the detector.
Q: Where should I have carbon monoxide detectors?
Install CO detectors on every floor of the house. It is especially important to have them on upper floors, as a furnace is a common place for a carbon monoxide leak, and the system can push carbon monoxide through the entire house.
A: I know I need a fire escape plan, but where do I start? I worry in particular about our kids.
Having a fire escape plan is a vital part of fire safety for your family. Regardless of where you are in a burning house, you need to know two escape routes. On the first floor, this could be the front or back door. On the second floor, this could be the stairs or a window.
Come up with an escape plan and practice it monthly with your family. Practice different scenarios – escaping during the day, during the night, with your eyes covered, with the alarm going off, from your bedrooms, from the kitchen.
Here is a great resource to help you create your plan.
When practicing an escape with kids, always share an easy-to-remember phrase:
Teach Your Kids to Stay Low & Go!
Make sure your escape plan includes a designated meeting spot. This is where everyone should meet once they’ve escaped a fire. An accurate headcount will help firefighters know who is out and more importantly, who is still inside.
Tips for Helping Firefighters at Your Home
- Make sure your house numbers are in good repair and easy to read. Large, high contrast house numbers are to your advantage in the event of an emergency. You want firefighters to be able to find your house quickly. A house fully ablaze is pretty easy to spot, but if the fire department is responding to a call for a choking child, you don’t want them wasting precious time trying to read your house number.
- Do not use window decals or stickers to indicate where a child is sleeping. The idea behind this makes sense – if your house is on fire, you want the firefighters to know where your children are. However, at the time of a fire, your child may not be in that room. He / she may be away at a sleepover, or got scared and ran to another room. Worse yet, the stickers may be still on the window from a previous owner and no child is in there at all. These stickers may waste valuable time.
- Don’t put any furniture in front of a window. Firefighters will do anything they can to get inside a burning house, including jumping through a window. Obstructions like headboards, dressers and TV’s can get in the way and cost valuable time. Keep windows clear.
For my family, the two most important things I’ve learned are to test our smoke detectors and to create (and practice) an escape plan. I know the kids probably won’t want to do it, and it may even scare them a little, but it’s worth it. I can’t think of anything more important to be prepared for than saving our lives.
We at Grand Rapids Kids appreciate all the hard work and support of the Grand Rapids Fire Department. These men and woman are doing great things for our community.