Many people think a fire won't happen to them. But what if it does, and what if children are in the home? Will they know how to react? The public is invited to join the Brighton Area Fire Department, Safe Kids Huron Valley and the Brighton District Library on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. for a fire safety awareness program at the Library.
Brighton Area Fire Lt. Curt Ruf will share important life-saving tips with children and their caregivers and kids will have an opportunity to see a real fire truck. Amber Kroeker, Safe Kids Huron Valley Coordinator and Injury Prevention Health Educator for Mott Children’s Hospital, will talk to kids about what they should do if there is a fire in their home. Kroeker will read No Dragons for Tea, a fire safety awareness story. Each child attending will receive a copy.
“Many adults mistakenly believe that in a fire, children will run to or call for a parent,” said Kroeker. “Others believe that a child will instinctively know to leave a burning building. Unfortunately, this is not the case.”
October is National Fire Prevention Month. Nationwide, about 462 children ages 14 and under die each year in residential fires. “It is very important for children to learn how to act in a fire,” said Ruf. “A firefighter appearing through black smoke in full firefighting gear can be extremely intimidating to a child,” he said. “Often children do not want to leave with the firefighter, waiting instead for their parents to rescue them. Our goal is to make children familiar with our gear, teach them the dangers of fire, and what they should do if they are involved in a fire in their home.”
The Brighton Fire Department and Safe Kids Huron Valley recommends that parents and caregivers prepare children on how to act in case of a residential fire by reviewing these safe practices.
- Familiarize your child with the sound of your smoke alarm. Plan and practice several escape routes from each room of the home and identify a safe meeting place.
- Designate an outside meeting place. It may be a tree, a street light, or a neighbor's house. Make sure all family members — particularly children — know the meeting place. They should go ther immediately after leaving the house and wait there until everyone from their family is present.
- Teach children never to hide in the event of a fire. Show them the proper way to get out of the house. Leave immediately if you hear the smoke alarm, smell smoke, or see flames. If there is smoke, teach your children to stay low and crawl.
- Tell children to feel doors with the back of their hand before opening them and to use an alternate exit if the door is hot.
- Also, teach children never to re-enter a burning building. Tell children that it is most important for them to get to the meeting place — not to return for anything. They should not stop to call 9-1-1 or the fire department. A call can be placed once they have left the premises. When firefighters arrive, they should tell them if someone is inside or missing.
- Take your child to your local fire station for a tour. Many fire stations have fire education classes for children.
The Brighton District Library is located at 100 Library Drive, Brighton, Michigan. For information about this program, call the library at 810-229-6571 ext. 223 or call Safe Kids Huron Valley Susan Garvaglia at 810-599-2086.