What? You may be thinking that I am crazy, but hear me out. Children receive excellent training at school regarding fire safety. However, this training does not necessarily mean children are able to evacuate their own homes during a fire. Most school settings are very different from the home. There are no lines painted on the ground or maps posted on the walls telling them where to go. A fire at school would be during the day, and the children are usually in groups, but at home it could be dark and the child might need to evacuate alone. It is therefore very important that families have their own fire training sessions, focused on their home.
A gradual approach to training your children is best. The first step is to plan two ways out of every room in the house. Physically walk the house as a family identifying these two exits. Then practice using these escape routes in a fun, non-threatening environment.
Once everyone knows how to get outside, a family meeting place should be identified. A tree, neighbor’s house or a mailbox are good choices. Identify a single spot where you will all meet. This is important to quickly account for all members of your home.
The smoke detectors in your home sound very different to the fire alarms at school. Let your children hear it a few times, and then practice going to the family meeting place. Once they have done this a few times, tell them you might sound it any time and they are to evacuate just like they would in a real fire. Depending on their ages, you may need to practice quite frequently. Having a practiced home fire plan is the most important thing you can do for your children regarding fire safety.