Thursday, January 21, 2010

Developing a fire safety plan

Julia has a multi-disciplinary evaluation every year as part of her services she receives from the county for her hearing loss. There are all kind of questions for her and me during a two hour visit from her certified teacher of the deaf. This time it revealed little in the way of deficiencies which is wonderful.

The teacher did surprise me by asking Julia what she should do in a fire. I think about what we'd do in a fire all of the time. I am a constant worrier. I've been thinking through how I would scoop up my baby and flee the house for the past four years.

I've talked about school fire drills with Julia. I've told her that the smoke alarm means that we should leave the house. We leave the house unless it goes off when mommy is cooking and I tell her it's a false alarm. She surely thinks that the annoying beeps happen only so I'll go and swat at the ceiling with a dish towel.

But we had to answer this question and we weren't prepared. My daughter, always innovative in her responses, replied that she would put out the fire. Then I corrected her by saying that she should find mommy. I took a moment and realized that we have no escape plan and we would all die of smoke inhalation.

We've moved into our first house where we can be in separate rooms and not even be heard to talk to one another. We're going to need to have a fire drill. I'm going to have to train her to leave the house and meet me at the mailbox. I can't rely on my own ability to find her and get her to safety.

It scares me that this snuck up on me so quickly. Here she is almost five. She could be that kid that goes and hides in a closet where we couldn't get to her in time. My worrying brain is in overdrive.

I have some work to do. We need to have one of those family meetings. We need to plan on getting ourselves out of the house and not stopping for Barbie dolls or even the poor dog. Hopefully, next time she's asked my Julia will know that she's not supposed to play hero firegirl.


  1. ouch, what a wakeup call! But it's good to learn now, rather than when there's an actual emergency. If she's a visual person, maybe a little sheet next to her window with pictures of the steps to take? (open window, climb out, wait at mailbox, hug mom) Sounds like you're about to take some good action, I hope it helps calm your worries as you put a plan in place!

  2. This is something I always mean to do, but never do. And, even worse...our fire alarms go off quite often whenever there is any tiny bit of smoke in the oven, and what do the kids do? Anytime they hear the fire alarms they run to the door and start swinging it back and forth to clear the smoke out. I worry some day they will not pay attention thinking it is just the stove again.

    Following your blog!

  3. I'll never forget a couple years ago asking my young daughter what she would do if she woke up in the middle of the night, and there was a fire in the hallway outside her room. What would she do? She looked at me, and said hesitantly, "Hide in my closet until you came to get me?" Gulp.

  4. That reminds me that I really need an escape plan. My bedroom is on the third floor and there is no fire escape. If the downstairs goes, I'm in big trouble!

  5. How quick witted is she though to think of putting the fire out! =)

  6. What an excellent wake up call. And what a blessing that it comes now when there is no crisis. Food for thought, and I'm thinking.


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