I was out at work but my husband had just gotten home from a trip, resting upstairs with Paul, our 5-year-old. Since it was a weekend, everyone at home was busy cleaning, tending to the garden, giving the dogs a bath, and tearing up the kitchen.
Vicente, my 7-year-old, was in the family room making full use of his Saturday TV time.
Paul and my husband were half-asleep on the bed when Vicente came running in saying the fan in the family room was on fire.
My husband ran to the room, pulled the plug, and put out the fire before the curtains beside could catch fire.
Surely it could’ve been a lot worse if not for my quick-thinking 7-year-old.
That’s why it’s most important to try your best to prepare everyone for situations such as this.
Have a fire plan
1. Have a fire plan and teach everybody at home the following:
Fire exit routes around the house and how to escape from fire.
Numbers to call in case of fire and other emergencies.A meeting place where all the members of the family can converge outside the house, out of harm’s way.
2. Teach your child to how to stop, drop and roll. There are lots of songs and games that can teach them that life-saving technique.
3. Make sure all the adults in the house know how to operate the fire extinguishers. Make sure these devices are regularly checked. Same with smoke alarms.
Keep your kids safe from fires
Of course it’s best to start with fire prevention measures. Here are some tips you can use at home.
1. When frying, grilling or even broiling food, someone should always be in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if it will be unattended.
2. Keep your mitts, paper, paper towels, curtains and anything else that can catch fire away from your stove top. That includes your children.
3. For households with little ones, it’s best to invest on plastic safety covers for electrical outlets.
4. Do not overload outlets.
5. Check your electronics and appliances. If there’s an appliance that’s not working properly, best not to use it or have it repaired immediately.
6. Keep matches, lighters and any fire starters away from children.
7. Teach your child about fire and its dangers so they understand and respect it. It helps too when they see that you’re very cautious when you deal with matches, lighters, etc.
Better safe than sorry
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Do your best not just to prevent fires, but also to prepare your household staff and your children should emergency situations arise, including earthquakes.
We were very lucky Vicente knew not to deal with the fire himself and instead ran to his dad. We praised him for what he did and called him a hero. Apart of being proud of himself, it has given him confidence in his ability to handle emergency situations in the right way.
Patricia Bermudez-Hizon is an accomplished sportscaster, tv and events host, mother of two boys, wife of a basketball player turned golf addict, free lance producer and writer, sports junkie, breastfeeding advocate, founder of the "Everyday Is Your Birthday Foundation" and director for the "High Five Hope Foundation". Get to know more about her on her blog www.patriciahizon.com and follow her on twitter @patriciahizon.