Talking Points

The Problem

•  Children age five and under are twice as likely to die in fires as are older children and adults. Statistics show that for children ages 1-4, fires and burns are the leading cause of unintentional injury.      

•  Many young children die in fires because they instinctively try to hide from smoke and flames. Fear often causes children to hide in a closet or under a bed in the mistaken belief that they are safe from the fire.     

•  Fear may also prevent children from telling adults about a fire because they fear punishment.

What can be done to protect young children?

Two important steps:
1.  Have a working smoke detector in the home; and
2.  Practice a home Exit Drill with children.


•  The chances of dying in a home fire are cut in half when there is a working smoke detector and reduced even further if everyone in the home knows what to do when it sounds.     

•  A home can be overtaken by smoke and flames in just three minutes.     

•  The warning from a smoke detector can give parents up to three minutes to save themselves and their children ... but ...     

•  Three minutes does not allow for indecision or a lack of preparedness.     

•  Without a planned escape route that has been practiced by the whole family, the successful escape of all family members is at risk.

What You Can Do     

•  Wednesday, October 9th, at 6:00 pm, plan and practice a home Exit Drill. 

•  Young children learn by mimicking and repeating things. The home Exit Drill is a way to teach young children life-saving fire safety habits.

Develop a Home Exit Plan     

•  Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Then sit down with your family and talk about what they should do when they hear the alarm.      

•  Every person should know two exits from each room. Make sure children and adults can easily unlock doors and windows. If you must escape from a second-story window, make sure there is a safe way to reach the ground.     

•  Decide on a family meeting spot outside the home. If everyone knows where to meet, you will know that everyone is safely out of the house.       

•  Make sure everyone in the family knows how to call the fire department and stress that everyone needs to get out of the house first, then call the fire department from a neighbor’s house.

Practice Your Plan     

•  Once you have planned your Exit Drill, practice it.   

•  Test your smoke detector and have everyone Get Low & Go! Practice crawling low down hallways to stay below the dangerous smoke. 

•  Once everyone is out of the house and at your family meeting spot, make sure to reinforce to children that they are never to return to a burning building.