The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) declares that 92 percent of civilian deaths due to fires in buildings occur in homes. Children playing with fire accounted for a large percentage of fire-related child deaths. Kids playing together during a sleepover are likely to be more adventurous, and the young guests are often unfamiliar with the family’s fire safety and evacuation plan. Here are a few tips to equip parents with knowledge and tools to keep children safe during sleepovers.
Visit the Home Where the Sleepover Will Occur
Get a firsthand look at the fire safety measures in place in the hosting home. A good home security system in California also includes carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. The best system includes fire sprinklers, but adequate fire extinguishers are sufficient. Look to see if there are smoke detectors inside the bedrooms. Statistics prove that detectors far away from bedrooms are often not heard. Ask if the detectors are centrally wired or connected so that if one goes off they all sound.
Whereas individual battery-powered detectors are good, centrally wired home security systems that include smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors are better. They not only set off the alarms in all of the detectors, they sound the alarm at the main control panel. Also, the monitoring agency is automatically notified so the appropriate emergency personnel will be dispatched.
Ask About the Sleepover Host’s Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan
As a premier Los Angeles security services company, Pacific Alarm strongly recommends that for any sleepover the parents in charge have each guest learn the evacuation plan and meeting place. Do a fire drill to teach it. The guests need to know how to get out and where to meet. It can save the lives of the sleepover guests, and the refresher is also good for the family members who already know the plan. When taking a child to a sleepover, discuss with the host parents the need for a fire drill so the child knows the plan. If there is no plan, the NFPA recommends to not permit the sleepover. This is good and potentially lifesaving advice.
Conditioning Children to Always be Aware of Fire Safety
It is an easy thing for a parent to ask a child where the closest exit is, and if they see any fire safety devices such as detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinklers when in a new building. Be consistent at each new place. Visiting the dentist, stopping at the grocery store, walking into a mall and even visiting the home of a relative or friend are all opportunities. Soon the child will by routine look for the quickest way out and whether or not there are fire safety measures in place. It is a fun game that can reap huge benefits if a real emergency occurs, and the conditioning will help in preparing the child to get out no matter where the location.
Helping Parents Who Have No Fire Safety Plan
The first time a parent refuses to let a child go to a sleepover due to concerns such as fire safety, the hosts of the sleepover are likely to be upset. Instead of letting emotions rule, point out the real benefits of having a fire safety plan that includes an evacuation plan, meeting place and fire drills.
All parents are responsible for the safety of their own children. Fire is a killer that takes hundreds of lives every year. Simple fire safety plans and tools in place can prevent needless loss of life. A sleepover is one of the most fun and memorable events in a child’s life. It should be as safe as possible so children can enjoy them and parents do not have to worry.