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1864 - Walker/Reynier family patriarch Jean Joseph Reynier, then 15, arrives in Sand Canyon from France; eventually homesteads 1,200 acres [story]
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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Oct 4, 2014

JenniferFischerOctober 5-11 is Fire Safety Week. One of my fellow members of the No Kid Hungry Social Council is a firefighter. Last year, she shared her top 10 tips with me to pass along to kids when teaching fire safety.

I feel No. 2 on her list is particularly important, as I know many kids would feel the urge to hide. But it’s important they learn that when there is a fire, hiding can be dangerous.

I’ve shared her tips before in various places online, but since they are so important, I’m sharing them again:

1. Play Safely. Make sure kids know not to play with matches and lighters. The importance of this must be stressed with kids. (My tip: Parents, keep matches and lighters in places where children cannot reach them, if possible, but still also teach them they are not playthings.)

2. Don’t Hide. Children need to know it is important not to hide from the fire or firefighters, and that getting outside is critical. Kids will tend to hide under beds or in closets, especially if they may have started the fire. They need to know it is important not to hide from firefighters.

JF1004143. Stay Low, Practice Crawling. When getting out of the house, tell kids they need to crawl. This way they will stay below the smoke. Practice crawling. If you have to crawl down stairs, turn around and go feet first. Always feel doors for heat before opening them (with the back of your hand). If your escape route is blocked by fire, shut the door to whatever room you are in, and go to the window.

4. Stop, Drop and Roll. Of course, if your clothes catch on fire, “Stop, Drop and Roll.” Demonstrate what that means, then have children practice, too.

5. Get Out of the House. Leave Toys Behind. Make sure the kids know the most important thing to do is get out of the house. Don’t try to put out the fire or grab toys.

6. Call 911 once you are outside. The instinct might be to call first, but it is important to get out of the house and away from the fire first.

7. Have a Plan. For parents and kids together, work out an escape plan. Draw a map of the house and yard. Have a meeting place outside at a fixed location like a tree or a mailbox (in Southern California, I prefer the mailbox, since trees might become fire hazards). Mark it on the drawing. Show escape routes. Have more than one. If the child’s room is on the second floor, get an escape ladder and make sure they know how to use it. Use it only if you can’t get out through the house. Make sure there is no furniture blocking access to windows and doors, and make sure all windows open easily.

8. Practice Your Plan. Once the family has made up the plan, hold fire drills. Maybe do drills once every few months or at least when you change your smoke detector batteries. Hold the drills at night because that is when the majority of fires occur. Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page about what to do in the event of a fire.

9. Have Working Smoke Detectors. For the parents, because it is so important: Have WORKING smoke detectors and leave them up. Smoke detectors do save lives. My firefighter friend lives in a 1,000-square-foot house and has four. Change the batteries when you change your clocks.

10. Shut the Doors. When you leave the house, shut every door so if you have a house fire while you are gone, the fire will not spread as quickly.

Please also visit http://www.smokeybear.com/be-smart-outdoors.asp or http://www.nifc.gov/prevEdu/prevEdu_main.html for tips about fire safety outdoors and wildfire prevention, which is so important here in Southern California. This weekend we are actually on high alert for wildfires.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

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