I’m excited to partner with Energizer Batteries for this sponsored post.
When you’re a parent, you want nothing more than to protect your child from anything and everything that could harm them. A recent house fire in our area was a reminder of the fact that we need to take the time to discuss fire safety with our children more regularly. We’ve already been diligent the past few years to use the bi-annual clock changing as a reminder to change our smoke alarm batteries, so it seemed fitting now that our children are getting older to also use that opportunity to go over some fire safety tips with our children.
Discuss Dangerous Items
We began with the basics of fire prevention with a range of topics including candles, matches, lighters, heaters, and other dangerous electronic devices and why they should never be played with. Maggie was aware of most of these things already, but we covered the information again to reiterate the importance of it to the younger kids.
Firefighters are Our Friends
Next, we moved on to covering what a firefighter looks like. Let’s be honest, to a child, a firefighter is downright scary looking with all the equipment and the mask. Essentially, they resemble an alien monster straight out of a sci-fi movie. Maggie might not be afraid anymore but Jacob and Zellene would have surely hid. We’ve planned a trip to our local fire station where one of the firefighters can demonstrate the equipment that they wear, explain why they wear it, and show this kids that it isn’t really all that scary. Reinforcing the fact that a firefighter is a friend is essential!
What’s a Smoke Alarm?
Unless you find yourself frequently burning dinner, your kids may not know what the smoke alarm sounds like. If they haven’t heard it very often, the sound of a smoke alarm might scare them into hiding inside, rather than safety outside. We went through our home and showed the children where all the smoke alarms were located and then even pushed the test button so they could hear the alarm for themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, both “spring forward” and “fall back” clock changes provide the perfect time to do a few fire safety-related tasks, so as we walked around the house testing the smoke alarms with the kids, we also took the opportunity to change the batteries. I can’t really take all the credit for the idea to use daylight savings as a reminder to do this. Many years ago, The International Association of Fire Chiefs began the Change Your Clocks Change Your Batteries program, to help bring awareness and conformity to current safety standards in regards to home safety devices including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, and other critical battery-operated devices. Despite the fact that an increasing number of homes have smoke alarms and smoke detectors, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 71% of smoke alarms which failed to operate had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries. I can’t stress this enough: Your smoke detector is only as good as the batteries within it.
It is recommended that the batteries in all your detectors be changed every six months (or twice annually). If you follow this recommendation, you’ll avoid ever having to hear that awful low battery chirp! This isn’t a place you want to scrimp and use low quality batteries either. When you’re talking about a potentially life-saving device, only the best, longest-lasting batteries should be used, that’s why we use Energizer lithium batteries for our home detectors. They simply last longer. Energizer was also one of the first battery companies to remove mercury and cadmium from their household batteries, they have fewer toxic metals, and are a bit more environmentally friendly than comparable brands. That’s a pretty good “winner” in our book. As a testament to Energizer’s commitment to family safety, they have partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs to help promote their Change Your Clocks Change Your Batteries program for 29 years running!
Establish a Safe Spot
Our children absolutely hate loud noises, so testing the smoke alarms was not their favorite part of our lesson. However, now that they understand what that sound means, the know that they need to find either Janessa or myself or move to the safe spot we explained to them earlier. Knowing ahead of time that the noise is something meant to warn you rather than frighten you in an already frightening situation could be key in saving your child’s life! If you have a single-level home, this will probably not apply to you, however, for families that live in a two-story home, you’ll want to invest a small amount of money into purchasing a ladder that you can easily attach to your window and escape, should your stairs be blocked. Ideally you should have one of these in every room on the top floor but, if money is tight, one ladder is better than none at all for sure! Obviously, a young child would be unable to use a ladder but older children should be taught where it is and how to use it safely.
Check Your Extinguishers
Finally, check your fire extinguishers. If you don’t have one, get one! This can be the difference between a near-miss and a home completely lost to a fire. Fire extinguishers should be visually inspected for damage and the pressure gauge mounted near the nozzle should be glanced over to confirm that the proper amount of pressure is in the extinguisher. If you find your extinguisher has damage or has lost pressure, properly recycle and replace it with a new one. Many people put a fire extinguisher in their kitchen but we also keep a second one next to our dryer, after friends of ours nearly had their home burn to the ground after a fire in their dryer.
Teach Stop, Drop & Roll
Do your children know the phrase “stop, drop, and roll”? It’s never too early to teach them what they should do if their clothing catches on fire. Make it fun and practice. You can even turn it into a game like we did. Cut out a red, yellow and/or orange flame out of construction paper. Tell your child that if they see the “fire” on themselves during the day, they need to stop, drop, & roll. Then, randomly during the day, use tape to stick it to their clothes. Repetition is a great way to really get things to sink in with kids. Allow your child to take a turn placing the “fire” on your and show them that even adults stop, drop, and roll. I realize this might sound like an odd “game” to play, but it really helped our kids to remember what to do and that’s what’s most important!
As we approach “Fall Back” this coming Sunday, I urge you to take time with your own family to discuss fire safety and Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries!
For additional fire safety education resources, check out this fire safety brochure. You can also print off Kids’ Fire Safety Activity Sheets, courtesy of Energizer Batteries, to enhance your teaching sessions with your little ones. They’re free to download and print!