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Students at Devonshire Learn About Fire Prevention

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Your family awakens to the screech of a smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night. Does your family know what to do? Do you have an exit plan?

If you don’t know, the good news is that it’s easy to get prepared.

Firemen from the Des Plaines Fire Department visited kindergarten through second grade students at Devonshire Elementary School on October 6, 2015, during Fire Prevention Week. During their presentation and discussion, they explained to the children how to be as safe as possible during a fire and encouraged them to tell their parents and guardians, too.

This summary, provided by the Des Plaines Fire Department, gives tips on what parents and guardians can do to help stay safe in the event of a home fire.

Fire Safety Tips for Parents and Guardians:

  • Fire/smoke alarms keep your home safe. Change the batteries at least twice a year (you can use daylight savings time to remember) and test that they work weekly.
  • Have working smoke detectors outside every bedroom, and at least one on each floor.
  • In addition to having smoke detectors, have additional equipment if possible, such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and rope evacuation ladders for higher floors. Make sure your children are aware of this equipment.
  • Keep doorways clear for safe exit.
  • Have a family escape plan on what to do in case of a fire. Make sure each room has at least two exits if possible (doorway and window, etc.). Keep a written copy of it somewhere where the family will see it daily, such as on the refrigerator.
  • Practice the family escape plan and make sure you have a meeting point outside that is easily identifiable to reunite.
  • Make sure children know important safety basics, such as:
    1. What a fire needs to keep burning – oxygen, fuel, and heat (with a spark to ignite)
    2. Never to play with matches or lighters (and keep them out of children’s reach)
    3. If you see smoke, get down on the floor and crawl to the exit and do not go back in to avoid smoke inhalation
    4. What to do if they are in an unfamiliar location and there is a fire (get to closest exit, safely and go to meeting point)
    5. Feeling doors before opening them for heat to make sure it’s a safe exit
    6. How to call 911 and what information to provide AFTER they are safely away from the fire

The firemen also raised the question of what to do if there is a family pet at the location of a fire. They explained that if it is safe for the student to bring a pet out of a fire, they can, but that if it isn’t safe to do so to tell the firemen when they arrive.

A demonstration showed students what a fireman would look like in full gear and explained why they have the equipment, so they wouldn’t be afraid during an actual fire. Students also got to see a fire truck and learn about what equipment can be found throughout the truck.

Firefighters Jim, Sam, and Rob encouraged the children to go home and talk to their families about fire safety. A raffle is being held for children who bring back a completed form confirming their smoke alarms have been checked by their parents or guardians. Three lucky students will get a ride to school in the fire truck, in addition to helping keep their family safe.

Now that’s sure to ignite a spark during fire prevention week.

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