How to plan a home fire drill

Our home fire was seven months ago and I still have moments where I’ll stop in my tracks and think, “I can’t believe that happened!” Before the fire I never thought it would happen either. I am all about emergency preparedness. We kept a supply of food and water, and even had a backup generator. We had smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. We thought we knew what we were going to do in an emergency, but we never practiced a fire drill at home! Home fires are the biggest disaster threat facing American families today, yet according to a Nationwide Make Safe Happen survey of more than 1,000 parents with children under 13 years of age, only 55% of parents surveyed said their children know what to do in the event of a home fire. Many times, kids don’t even know what the smoke alarms sound like so when they go off the children will get scared and hide!

We were very lucky and were able to get our kids safely out of our burning house. It is something I am grateful for every day because we didn’t have a plan either! It’s such an important topic for us now because we know how quickly things can change. From the time we exited our house, it was 45 minutes until it was a complete loss. It happened so fast!

This is a picture of our garage. You can see our car and right behind it is my husband’s truck. But the scariest thought is that we were in the room right above the garage when our house started on fire! Even when my husband called 911 we had no idea that most of our roof was already ignited on the inside and there wasn’t much we could do to save it at that point.

I don’t want to show these pictures to scare you because I already know thinking about a tragedy like this is terrifying. But fall and winter is the time when most home fires happen so it’s very important to have a plan!

The reason I love Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program is because they want you to have these conversations with your kids, make a plan and have drills so that you are empowered during an emergency and not scared.

If you visit Homefiredrillday.com you’ll find:

  • fire escape plan tools for families
  • smoke alarm checklist
  • how-to steps for practicing your Home Fire Drill
  • and even home fire drill games

I love that they are making home fire drills FUN! Make it something your child looks forward to. You want them to know how important it is, but it doesn’t need to be scary.

Home Fire Drill Day

On October 14, 2017 I would love if you joined me for Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen second annual Home Fire Drill Day at HomeFireDrillDay.com! Join me in practicing a home fire drill so that your family, especially your children, know the escape plan and are prepared in case of a home fire.

Here are some helpful tips to stay safe and how to plan a fire drill:

  • Step 1: Know where to go
    • Pick a safety spot that’s near your home and a safe distance away.
    • Explain to your kids that when the smoke alarm beeps, they need to get out of the house quickly and meet at that safety spot.
  • Step 2: Check your smoke alarms
    • Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know the sound.
    • Make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every level of your home, and one in each bedroom.
  • Step 3: Do the drill
    • Have kids head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin.
    • Got kids under 6? Assign adults to help anyone who’ll need it.
    • Put one adult in charge of sounding the smoke alarm and running the drill.
    • Next, sound the smoke alarm, start the timer and have everyone quickly get out of the house and to their safety spot.
    • Once everyone gets to the safety spot, stop the timer. If you all made it in under two minutes, you each get an imaginary gold medal. If not, give it another try.
    • In a real fire, get to the safety spot, then call 911 and keep everyone close until firefighters arrive.

For more fire safety tips download the Make Safe Happen app! It will help you with everything in the graphic above and more! It is such a helpful tool for fire safety.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nationwide Insurance. The opinions and text are all mine.

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