This is a post sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and Sparky.org.
When Dude 3 was two years old, he suffered a major burn to the palm of his hand.
While he can’t even remotely recall it, it’s one of those parenting things that I will remember forever and ever.
He has always been my most clingy child and, as a toddler, he used to like to hang on to my hip and leg while cooking. Because mom life is hard, I often used to let him –not while really working with the stove or anything, but while mixing and chopping and such. He was just hang onto my leg and move around the kitchen with me or, on a good day, play with the pots and pans and bowls at my feet.
One afternoon, after I turned the stove off and began to serve our food, he reached his little baby hand up onto the cooktop (it was the glass, electric sort), and put it right on the hot burner.
I had moved the pan back (for safety reasons, of course!), but the hot burner was left exposed.
Naturally, after calming him as best I could, I rushed him to the doctor where they put on ointment, bandaged him, and sent us away with a prescription and a stove safety reminder or two.
I’ve literally never questioned my ability to mother well more than I did that day and I almost swore off cooking for good (okay, I tried, but these people keep wanting to eat!).
While I’ve come to accept the whole accidents happen thing and have mostly gotten past the guilt of the experience, I also know that our experience was somewhat preventable.
It was in no way intentional or even mildly neglectful, in my opinion, but the fact remains that there are countless things I could’ve done differently –practiced better kitchen safety, installed child safety devices, watched him more closely, etc) –to prevent the accident.
Sure, even with my best efforts in place, it could’ve still happened, but at least then I would’ve felt like I’d done everything I could do to prevent it.
Live and learn.
I’ve learned that house fires are no different.
With the right education, preparation, and forethought, you can potentially save your family and your home the unfortunate and possibly fatal experience of a house fire.
Because, just like burns, it’s not like house fires are rare.
In fact, U.S. fire departments respond to over 350,000 home fires per year. It is a tragedy that claims thousands of lives per year and leaves families injured, homeless, and under great financial strain.
October is National Fire Prevention Month and it’s a great time to do some annual fire safety checks and maintenance around your home and with your family.
Home Fire Prevention: 10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Fires at Home
Always have working smoke detectors installed in your home.
The standard is that they are on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas. So, no, it’s not enough to have them just in your hallway.
And make sure you check that they are functioning properly.
It’s best to do a monthly check. Just put it on the calendar for every first of the month so you remember.
Don’t overload extension cords.
Or connect more than one to make it longer.
Make sure your home heating units are in good working order and receive proper service.
Lots of home fires start because of faulty or dirty furnaces.
Make good choices in the kitchen.
Some elements of fire prevention are common sense. But, just because you know them and understand them, doesn’t mean you always do them! Make a commitment to never leave your stove burning or your oven running when you leave the room. Make sure you don’t have any items that could catch fire (like a paper towel or a cloth) near the stove. And keep kids and pets away from the stove (listen to someone who knows!).
Pay attention to the electrical wiring in your home.
If something has a short in it, or seems visibly damaged or frayed, it’s a sure sign you need to fix it!
Design a home evacuation plan.
And go over it with your family. You can use this template from the Sparky Schoolhouse app to help you create a home fire escape plan.
Then, have practice fire drills with your kids.
That way you know they can get out and to the safe spot even without your assistance.
Teach your children when and how to call 911.
In today’s day and age, when fewer homes have landlines a child can just pick up and call 911 from, it’s important that you instruct your child on how to access your phone so that they can call for help.
Use Sparky Schoolhouse.
The Sparky Schoolhouse site and apps, created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is an awesome resource for both teachers and parents to teach kids about fire safety and prevention. You can find a ton of information, songs, games, lesson plans, apps, and more to help make learning about fire prevention easy and fun.
The Dudes have loved their apps for years and I know younger dudes will enjoy the newest release, Sparky’s Firehouse, with the firetruck games and more.