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Electrical fires in the home are rare, and most people know how to prevent them. Still, every home needs properly installed smoke detectors—with fresh batteries. They’re the first defense in case of a fire, but for families with young children, they’re not enough.

Smoke alarms and fires can cause children to panic. You might not be at your child’s side when a fire occurs, so make sure everyone in your family knows how to escape from the house safely. Create a fire escape plan for every member of the family. Here are some tips:

  • Draw a map of the house’s floor plan and outline the best escape route.
  • Teach your children what to do if a doorway is blocked by fire.
  • Create an alternate route, especially from the child’s room or from areas of the house without easy access to the outdoors.
  • Agree on a meeting place outside of the house so the family will immediately know when everyone is safe.
  • Kids can memorize the familiar fire-safety drill: “Stop, drop and roll,” but words alone won’t keep them safe. Have children act out the moves. Then make a practice run through your escape routes and demonstrate to children how they should crawl and stay low to the ground to prevent smoke inhalation.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher in the house, show children how to use it.
  • Still, remind them that their safest action is to escape as quickly as possible.
  • Keep a cell phone in a visible and easily accessible place in case of emergencies. That way, you can get out of the house and then call 911.
  • Don’t waste time grabbing documents or keepsakes. Keep important or irreplaceable items like birth certificates and photo negatives in a fire-proof box or a safe deposit box at the bank.


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