Let’s Practice Our Fire Drills

Father and son meet at their fire drill safe spot outside the house

This blog was written by Max Samis, former SKW Communications Manager.

When I was younger, I remember going through fire drills at my school, all the way from elementary school through college. We’d go over the plan with our teachers, line up at the door and quickly and orderly head to a pre-determined location. Even today, our office will periodically run fire drills to make sure the smoke alarms are in working order and so that everyone in the building knows what to do in case of an emergency.

So if we do this so often at school and at work, why not at home?

This Fire Prevention Week (October 9-15), Safe Kids is teaming with Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program and other experts for Home Fire Drill Day on Saturday, October 15. Studies show that many people believe that in a fire, they would have 10 minutes or more to get out of their homes. In fact, you would only have about two minutes. This year, we’re encouraging families to take the time to put together an escape plan. You can even use our template, complete with tips and instructions, and hang it up afterwards where everyone can see it.

Here are a few tips for how you can help your family prepare for this Home Fire Drill Day:

  • Pick a family safety spot outside that’s near your home and a safe distance away.
  • Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know what the beep sounds like.
  • For children under six, assign an adult to help them.
  • Use a timer to ensure everyone can get out to the safety spot in two minutes or less. This is how much time a family has to safely exit the house in the event of a fire. 
  • Prepare for the practice by drawing out a plan based on the exits around the home.

And did you know that smoke alarms don’t last forever? That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week’s campaign is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home, and take this opportunity to check them all. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm – the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

Visit our tips section for more fire safety tips and free resources.