Fire drill day was always an event in elementary school. With fire alarm sounding, teachers marched the children outside and lined them up against the fence to see how quickly the building could be evacuated. Everyone, from the youngest kindergartener to the eldest child knew exactly what to do and when to do it.
Now, imagine what would happen if, to cut back on unnecessary time spent outside of the classroom, fire drills became a thing of the past.
How would you feel as a parent? A teacher? A principal?
Seems crazy, right?
Why Aren’t You Holding Fire Drills at Home?
Having smoke detectors in your home, even those attached to a home security system will only alert you to danger. They will not help you safely exit your home in the event of a fire. It is essential that you practice exiting your home in a calm, orderly manner from a variety of exit points so that in the event of an emergency you know precisely what to do. This may require you to create an escape plan for each room in your home. Pointers on creating such a plan and some of the materials you may need can be found at the National Fire Protection Association.
A Personal Story
Not long after we were married, I warned my wife that I was going to do something that she would find crazy. She agreed to go along with it in spite of my refusal to tell her what it was. One night around 3 in the morning, I set off the fire alarm in our new home. Through her sleepy eyes, she asked, “What’s going on?”
“A fire drill,” I said.
“A fire drill?”
“Yes. And you need to go out the window.”
That was when I pulled a portable ladder out from under the bed, hooked it on the window ledge and told her, “You need to grab the dog and go out the window.”
She looked at me like I was crazy, but agreed to put our small dog in a pillow case for easy transport. (The dog was not happy.) She dutifully climbed out the window and down to the ground with our dog slung over her shoulder like Santa Claus and looked up at me.
“Your turn,” she yelled.
“Me? No. I’ll let you in the front door. I’m going back to bed.”
She has never let me forget that night.
However, it taught us a few valuable lessons. First, it helped us (well, my wife) practice exiting our second story bedroom in a calm, unhurried way. Second, it helped us realize that we needed to account for our dog in our evacuation plans. Third, it made me realize that if I ever pulled a stunt like that again, I might be the one barefoot in the driveway.
Practice Makes Perfect
Home fire drills are the ideal way to reveal any weaknesses in your escape plans. They also help teach the elderly and very young how to safely and efficiently exit the home and allows for teaching moments as I had with my wife. Make a plan to have your regular fire drill today so you can ensure you and your loved ones stay safe.