Teaching children about fire safety could save lives - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Fire safety tips for kids

Fires can happen anywhere -- inside a building, an automobile or outdoors.

The fires in our homes, however, account for more than 75 percent of all fatalities.

Many families have a fire escape plan, but only half of them have ever practiced using it.

Firefighters say it is extremely important to remind all family members, especially small children, what to do in the event of a fire.

Seven people die each day in house fires in the U.S. That's more than 2,500 deaths each year.

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, 13 percent of these victims were less than 10 years old.

Knowing what to do and where to go increases your chances of getting out alive.  

America Now spent time with a group of kindergartners from Holland Elementary in Holland, Ohio, who practiced crawling their way to safety inside a fire safety house.

"It's a great visual aid for the children to go through and learn the different safety issues that they might deal with in their home," said Capt. Dave Bennett with the Springfield Township Fire Department.

This specially-designed travel trailer has a kitchen where kids learn about the dangers involving stoves, a living room with a fake fireplace, and an upstairs bedroom.

"We smoke it up and we show the kids how to roll out of bed and crawl underneath the smoke and escape out," Bennett said.

Some of the kids say they had fun.

"Yeah, but not the smoke part because it stunk and I couldn't see," one student said.

Another student pointed out two key things he learned.

"You've got to call 'help' and you can get down on the ladder," he said.

Once outside, the children learn the importance of having a safe meeting spot for the entire family.

"My flower pot is my safe place when I get outside, and I could get out the door or get out the window," he said.

Fire officials say kids at this age tend to get scared and will hide during a fire.

"If they physically do it, they really remember it a lot more," Bennett said.

It is important to come up with two escape plans out of each room of your home, and practice this with your kids at least twice a year.  

Fire experts also recommend testing your smoke alarm once a month and knowing the emergency number for your local fire department.

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