Friday, 9 October 2015

An Ounce of Prevention May Save Your Life

With October being fire prevention month it is a good time to look at your families fire safety plan.  For families with people with special needs it is important to look at how you and your loved ones will react in the event of  a fire.  Are all members of your family physically capable of getting themselves out of the house?  A person with mobility issues may not be able to get out through a doorway during an emergency, do they have the physical ability to climb out a window?  Does your child freeze, hide or panic in stressful situations?  What would that look like for them in a fire?

Prevention is your best option and early detection buys you time in the unlikely event that you have a house fire.  Working smoke detectors save lives, install and then check monthly to ensure that they are in good working condition.  As a large family with multiple special needs we have installed a smoke detector in every room of our home.  If we have a fire we want to know as soon as possible, since a large majority of our children would be unable to get themselves out of the house, thus giving us, as parents, time to get everyone safely out of the home.

Having a plan is extremely important.  Your plan should include a couple of escape routes from each room and should also include a meeting place when you are out of the building.  For our family we have made our meeting place in the backyard far enough from the home so we don't get in the way of any emergency personnel.   As our plan includes us as parents helping the children out of the home we have ladders stored in a convenient location that if need be we could access all of the childrens bedroom windows.  You may want to practice the plan with the fire drills depending on the abilities of your family.  For a couple of my children any discussion of fire safety planning would have them overwhelmed and convinced they are going to die so we need to keep it simple and matter of fact.