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Practicing fire safety with your kids

  • SafetyPracticing fire safety with your kidsMore>>

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The U.S. Fire Administration reports that every day, at least one child dies in a home fire. And in that same day, almost 300 others suffer fire-related injuries. But some simple precautions can help reduce these tragic numbers.

America Now's Leeza Gibbons recently met with the president of Safe Kids Worldwide, who shared a few easy tips for fire safety at home.

"One of the things that we see, particularly in fatal fires, is that people have the smoke detectors, but they haven't changed the batteries or they took the batteries out to use them for something else and instead of it working in a fire, it's useless," explains Kate Carr. 

Parents should check the batteries at least every six months, definitely every year.

And here's another tip: People may not be aware that a smoke detector actually wears out. After about 10 years, their filters and the equipment becomes clogged, and like many things they have to be replaced.

"One of the things that's a good test for families is to set them off, because the frequency of the sound sometimes doesn't wake everybody up," says Carr. "And they just sleep right through. So do a test. Do a fire drill with your family. You want to make sure that your kids know 'low and go.' If there's a fire and you have to get out, you want to be low to the ground where the smoke isn't, and go as fast as you can to get outside of the house and in that practice drill, make sure that the family knows how to get out of the house, the safest way out of the house, alternate routes out of the house and where to gather once they are outside." 

Carr says it all comes down to communicating and rehearsing so that you and your family are prepared.

Danger comes not only from smoke and fire, but also from carbon monoxide. Combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors are one way to address the problem. 

"Carbon monoxide poisoning is a problem and because it's a colorless, odorless gas, you don't know that your family is at risk from it," says Carr. "So having the detector, they are now more common. In fact, they are required in more and more locations around the country. I think that they're a great thing to install at any point where you have gas in your home."

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and it doesn't take long for the gas to knock you out.

"You could wind up going to sleep and never waking up, and that's what happens to families when there is carbon monoxide in the house," notes Carr.

 

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