Are you looking for a tangible way to teach fire safety to your kids? Then use this free fire escape plan printable to practice at home.
You know you need a fire escape plan for your kids. It’s on your never-ending to-do list, but maybe you don’t know where to start.
With the wildfires in Oregon, being prepared for a house fire has been on my mind again.
And last year one of my children was really worried about fires. Like wake-up-panicked-in-the-middle-of-the-night worried about fires.
The wildfires and smoke have really been hard for many children to process. But house fires can also be very dangerous.
Fortunately, there are two main things to do to escape a house fire safely, and they’re simple:
- have working smoke detectors
- have an escape plan.
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is address the fear head-on. Printables are a great tool for managing anxiety and learning skills.
Printables can also be helpful to make a plan more tangible. And with fire safety, you really just need to do your basic prevention and then you need a plan.
In order to keep our families safe, we all need a fire escape plan for kids.
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Fire safety tips for kids
There are a lot of ways we can reduce our risk of having a house fire.
To ease my child’s anxiety, I explained to her there is A LOT she can do to prevent fires. She can focus her attention on that.
1. Don’t play with matches or lighters
Explain that matches or lighters are for adult use only. My children do best with a clear rule so I said you must be 18 years old to use them.
Set the age that feels best for your family and teach it to your children.
2. Only own child-resistant lighters
Make sure any lighters you do have are childproof. Remember, childproof devices are not 100% effective and you really need to consider them to be child-resistant not childproof.
Check today: are your lighters out of sight and out of reach of your children?
3. Have a smoke detector on every level of the home.
Make sure you have smoke detectors near the source of potential fires and near bedrooms. They are not expensive and easy to install.
Block off half an hour this weekend to install another one in your home.
4. Have a fire extinguisher
Make sure you have a working and unexpired fire extinguisher wherever you cook. Watch a Youtube video by yourself about how to operate a fire extinguisher so you feel comfortable with it.
Check your fire extinguisher this weekend or purchase one right now.
5. Check your smoke detectors
Now my dad was Mr. Frugal. I couldn’t believe he’d replace batteries that already worked with BRAND NEW ONES! But that annual action was very reassuring to this anxious child.
The current advice is to replace batteries at least twice a year so you could choose the first day of fall and the first day of spring. Make it a ritual. I’ve also seen fire departments suggest you check your smoke detector at Daylight Savings Time.
The Red Cross recommends you check your smoke detectors monthly and replace the batteries if it doesn’t work. If that feels better to your family, add it to the calendar and involve your children. I prefer to proactively replace batteries.
Check your smoke detectors today.
6. Keep exits clear
This is a big challenge with my messy kiddos. My daughter’s room can be a serious obstacle course at times.
So we work on making sure the floor is picked up at least a little before bed every night. This means we give her a tangible task like put all the dress up clothes back in the box or put all these picture books back on the shelf.
7. Teach your children about firefighters
Since my children are still young, they think firefighters are cool when they see them at the grocery store. Driving past a fire truck is the highlight of their day!
In real life situations, with all the gear on, firefighters can be intimidating or downright scary!
Take advantage of opportunities in your community to visit fire trucks or fire stations and see the gear on firefighters. Explain that if a firefighter comes to your home or school like that, it’s important to listen for their safety.
Check out pictures of firefighters online with your child.
8. Practice fire drills at home
The Red Cross recommends practicing your fire escape plan twice a year. Depending on your children, you might want to practice more frequently.
You can combine this with testing the alarms. Use the printable Fire Escape Plan to show your child what to do.
9. Have two escape paths
This is tricky with my young kids. We really don’t want our children to understand how to open their bedroom windows since falls are a real, life-threatening risk. If your children are older, you can teach them the rules about that.
For our children, we’ve explained to use the front door, the back door, or to come to mom and dad’s room in the middle of the night.
10. Connect with your neighbors
We went over and talked to our neighbors. We have a retired couple on our street and they are usually home.
We had the children say hi and make sure they knew the neighbors names and faces. In an emergency, they know to go to George and Liz’s house.
So put on your mask, ring your neighbor’s bell, and confirm your plan.
Protecting Your Family from Fires
One way you can protect your family is to own some basic fire safety supplies.
- Smoke detector
This is an affordable and effective way to keep your family safe.
- Extra batteries
I feel better using name brand batteries in smoke detectors.
- Fire extinguisher
Make sure to have a fire extinguisher near where you cook.
- Fire Escape Ladder
I don’t own these yet. When our children are older, we will teach them to open their windows and then get ladders.
- Childproof lighters
This is the type I use in my home. My children haven’t been able to figure them out (although we keep them out-of-reach anyway!)
How do you make a fire escape plan?
With small children, it can seem overwhelming to have a plan.
The important parts of a fire escape plan are:
- have two ways out,
- teach everyone to stay low,
- make a meeting place.
Since that still seems like a lot with small children or children with special needs, I created the Fire Escape Plan printable.
Use a fire escape plan printable
Show the Fire Escape Plan printable to your kids and practice each step.
These are the steps:
1. Hear smoke detector: It’s a good idea to actually press the button on your smoke detector so they are familiar with the sound.
2. Get down low: Teach your kids that they will need to crawl in case their is smoke.
3. Feel the door if hot: Show your children how to make sure the door is cool.
4. Crawl to exit: Reiterate that they need to stay below the smoke so they won’t cough.
5. Leave the house: Make sure your child knows not to go back inside. That is the firefighter’s job.
6. Go to neighbor’s house and wait for family: Explain that the neighbors will help.
7. Call 9-1-1: Your child or neighbor will share your address.
Recapping Fire Escape Plan for Kids
Here are the action steps for having a fire escape plan for your family:
- Review the fire safety tips with your children.
- Make sure you have working supplies like a fire extinguisher and smoke detector.
- Practice the fire escape plan with your family.
- Use a Fire Escape Plan printable so your children have a concrete visual.
Sometimes the worst part of worry is not having a plan! So grab the Fire Escape Plan printable, check your supplies, and stop worrying about house fires.