Hands up from everyone who shed a tear watching the highly-anticipated episode of This Is Us when we finally learned how Jack passed away. An emotional roller coaster of a show, This Is Us usually has me in tears on a weekly basis. And while this week was no different, it actually sparked a conversation in my house that we never thought of addressing: fire safety for kids, and the entire household for that matter.
My almost 9-year-old daughter Hannah urged me to watch the fire scene after hearing that mommy was crying the night before. And without thinking too much about it, I let her and her brother Alex watch it. And then I realized that I made a mistake. Or rather not a mistake but that I needed a plan to address a topic that had them terrified.
be prepared: smoke detectors
My husband pointed out that I failed to mention that the batteries in the Pearson family’s smoke detector did not work. A factor that would have avoided the tragic fire in the first place. Which immediately led us to show our kids our two smoke detectors and the Nest Alarm we have installed that will alert us via an app on our iPhones.
We sat down to talk about other fire safety issues which came out in an unstructured way. Since our discussion I’ve taken out a few books from the local library and now we’re all on the same page when it comes to fire safety.
prevention: playing with fire
Here are a few things you can teach your kids to keep your house safe to minimize the chance of a fire.
- Never leave a candle or fire unattended.
- Don’t ever play with matches.
- Keep paper and towels away from hot appliances.
- Unplug appliances (crockpot!) when leaving the house for long periods of time.
practice makes perfect
Nobody wants to think of the worst but it’s always best to have a plan to keep your family as safe as possible in the case of a fire.
- Let them hear what the smoke detector alarm sounds like.
- Have an exit plan. Know where you will exit the house and how you will get outside (ie. rope, sheets, ladder…)
- Make a meeting spot once outside, such as a neighbour’s driveway.
- Pick one person who will be responsible for the family pet.
- Practice with a fire drill at home.
important things to remember
These additional tips are worth stressing to make sure everyone gets out safe:
- Never go back inside for anything.
- Touch all doors with the back of your hand before opening them.
- Crawl on the floor if there is smoke in the air.
- Use a blanket or towel to cover the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out.
The panic that set in for my kids after watching the show has already disappeared in one week’s time. Our family discussion and fire exit plan put them at ease and minimized their fears. So while I may have shed a few extra tears in front of the TV, “This Is Us” just scored another point in my books – one that will keep my family a little safer.