A great lesson for young parents!
I know this isn’t my standard monthly training drill but, I would like to share with you a letter written by my daughter and posted during fire prevention week. Scott Meiecke
Hello everyone! If you have a child in school, then you likely know that this week is Fire Prevention week: a week where we recall the events of the Great Chicago Fire on Oct. 8, 1871. This is a time where we focus on things we can do in case of a fire as well as ways to prevent fires from happening in the first place.
If you know me personally, you know that I have been in a firefighting family my whole life. My dad has been a volunteer firefighter in our hometown since I was a toddler and continues to serve today. My two older brothers, my husband, and myself all joined as student firefighters, and we all went on to serve as full-time members (my oldest brother continues to serve today).
I remember as a girl going along with my dad to his firefighter classes where he would teach the fundamentals of firefighting. Part of the class would include my brother and I hiding in a classroom with the lights out and letting the firefighters practice searching for us in their full turnout gear and air pack. They would sometimes get within an arm’s reach to us but still couldn’t find us (and to think, they knew we were for sure somewhere in the classroom). We would hold so still as if we were a child that was hiding in a fire scared of the firefighter in their full gear.
Another memory I have is when we were given the opportunity to go through one of the training trailers at Fire School. It was essentially a trailer filled with obstacle courses that simulated what it was like to try to maneuver through a building in an attempt to get through a fire. Want to know what it looks like in there? Cover your eyes so no light will get in. That’s it. Now pretend you have fire retardant gloves on that make it hard to use your sense of touch. Add an air mask. Each layer of protection you add for yourself makes your senses so much more difficult to use.
Now imagine this. You are the firefighter in charge of going into a home you have never been into to find the children that are in their bedrooms either sleeping or hiding from fear. You know that you have to make your way down the hallway, but once you get into the room, you feel a lump. Is it a stuffed animal? A pile of laundry? Not a child. Keep going. Next you feel the books that spilled out from the shelf the night before. Still not what you are looking for. Remember, fire can double in size every thirty seconds as long as it has plenty of fuel to burn. You think you find the bed, but now where you think the child should be, you find about thirty stuffed animals. Luckily, you and your partner following along with you find both children and are able to exit in time.
Think of your house right now. I get it! BELIEVE ME! I GET IT! I know how hard it is to stay on top of everything when your kids are little. I know how fast they can destroy a room that you just picked up. I know that you feel like every three steps you make on your housework; you take two steps back. But guess what else I know. I know how hard it is to crawl through that trailer in pitch black where there is only one direction to go to complete the task. I can’t imagine the stress of trying to find a child in a home I don’t know.
Think of your child’s bedroom right now. How easy would it be for a stranger whose senses are inhibited to find your child in their room if they needed to be rescued. Every second counts in an emergency and although we all think that it will never happen to us, just think of the firefighter that might be the one sifting through laundry, toys, stuffed animals, books, etc. to find your child.
I have a rule with myself that no matter the condition of the dishes, laundry baskets waiting to be folded, papers that need sorted, floor that needs swept, etc. etc., I always always, always, make sure that my kids’ bedroom floor is cleared. Now you don’t have to tell your small children the scary reason why the floor being clear is so important. I tell my two and four-year-old that we make sure it’s clean in case we need to get up in the night. As they get older, we will talk more about the scope of its importance.
Once you start this, it becomes such a quick nightly task that could make a world of difference in the event you ever need the fire department. Remember to talk to your kids about fire safety. Change your smoke detector batteries. Visit a fire station with your family if you are able to so your children aren’t afraid of firefighters, especially in their gear. Make sure your family has an exit plan and safe meeting place if you do ever have a fire and please, just help your kids keep a tidy room. Who knows, it could one day make all the difference!
This was written by Lyndsie Schilling and taken from her Facebook Personal Blog: Everyday Lyndsie.