Are Your Kids Fire-Proof?

house on fire at night

We had a pretty exciting evening here at Earnest Parenting. Some couples from church have been getting together at Jason and Sally’s* house on Sunday evenings for a Bible study on marriage. The kids play in the basement while Sally’s 18 year-old-sister Nicole watches her two young children (and supervises the rest of the gang as well).

Tonight the kids settled downstairs with a game while we started the video lesson. About 5 minutes later Nicole came running up the stairs and called Jason with some urgency. I thought one of the boys had misbehaved pretty badly for her to be so upset. Jason ran down stairs and about 15 seconds later started hollering “FIRE! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!”

We bolted out of our seats and headed for the stairs. I was last and I could hear Sally directing the children loudly out the door in the basement. Really thick black smoke was pouring up the stairs. Realizing that no one was wearing shoes I threw mine on, grabbed my coat and started picking up as many pairs as I could. Hubby came along and scooped up an armload. Jason-a firefighter-was already on his radio notifying the fire department of the emergency and we all ran outside.

When I got down the stairs to the driveway I could hear my friends saying that all the kids were accounted for. Our neighbor-also a firefighter-was getting his car moved away from the house for the firetrucks. I ordered the boys into our van to move it as well. Plus they were running around in rain and mud with no shoes.

Jason and Sally had borrowed a skidsteer (often referred to as a BobCat) from a mutual friend and it was sitting in their garage which is on the same level as the basement. We don’t know why yet, but it started burning. Because we had two fire-fighters on the scene, and because Jason’s father-in-law is a smart cookie, the guys were able to safely hook a chain to the skidsteer and drag it out of the house with Jason’s very large work truck.

The good news is that other than smoke damage it appears that the house is fine. The great news is that the kids were gotten out of the house safely. There were 10 precious lives in that basement tonight.

When we were heading out, Sally said something about her house being destroyed; in that moment she really thought the whole thing was a goner. Our neighbor said that if they hadn’t pulled the burning machine out, the garage would have gone up before the fire truck arrived, and that the house would have been engulfed a few minutes after that.

Definitely a close call.

We’re all thanking God tonight for so many factors that came into play to keep persons and property safe. Nicole alerted Jason to the fire and action was being taken before the smoke alarms even sounded. The kids all followed instructions to the letter, holding still when she told them to wait while she investigated, and then running like mad when instructed to get. out. now.

Especially impressive is the fact that at least 6 of the children didn’t know where the door to the outside was on that level, and 2 others were too small to have gotten outside on their own. Sally told them to hold hands and go, and they went.

We’ve instructed the boys in what to do if our house ever caught fire. They know all the exits and where to meet. They know not to stay in the house to call 911, and they know who in the neighborhood would be most able to help them in a crisis. We review that information periodically, just to make sure they know.

Honestly though, I never thought about having a plan for fire safety away from home. It’s something we’ll be discussing very soon. What about you? Do you have a plan in place for fire? What if it’s not at home?

*names have been changed to protect privacy.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to be safe in fire situations.

Image courtesy of Kenneth B. Moore via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Wendy October 27, 2008, 7:29 am

    Thank God everyone was all right, and that the damage wasn’t worse. I will be talking to the teens today about looking for emergency exits when they are at others’ homes. It’s never occured to me to do so before. Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  • Amy October 27, 2008, 12:40 pm

    Wendy, amen to that! Have been thankful all day and I still get a little choked up when I think about it. I’m also thankful that it happened when it did. Having 2 firefighters plus two other able-bodied and very calm men on scene, and 4 women to wrangle the kiddos was the best possible scenario. I keep thinking about what it would have been like if the fire had started in the night when they were sleeping. The kids were all in the bedroom of Sally and Jason’s 3 year old son.

    I talked to Sally’s mom today and everyone’s fine, just calming down. She told me that she’s been through a house fire or two and it’s become a habit to make an exit plan with the kids wherever they are just in case. I’m planning to make that my habit too.

    Reply
  • Almir Bojkovic October 27, 2008, 8:17 pm

    Thank god no body was injured because that sure looks dangerous. Its nothing to fool around with because its very easy to die in this world as every day could be our last which is a pretty scary thought.

    Reply
  • Hus Spanien October 28, 2008, 5:59 pm

    Yeah…one could never be to careful when it comes to fire. Here in Sweden it is, to the day, exactly ten years since one of our worst fire accidents ever. Some 30 kids were killed in a disquoteque, which spawned several new laws,

    Reply
  • Christa October 28, 2008, 7:19 pm

    WOW Amy! Scary stuff! This sounds like the PERFECT testimonial to send to FlyLady…something I am sure NO ONE else has really thought of! Consider sharing it with her. 🙂

    Thanks for the food for thought. It was Fire Safety Week here last week, so I believe this fits in perfectly to what we’ve been discussing.

    I am so glad that everything turned out FINE and that everyone was safe and accounted for. Praise God!

    Reply
  • Christa October 28, 2008, 7:22 pm

    Oh, P.S., you guys didn’t happen to be having the Fireproof bible study, did you? 🙂

    Reply
  • dextro October 28, 2008, 7:30 pm

    Well, you, your family, and your neighborhood are surely know how to handle a bad and unwanted situation like that. Specially for the kids, considering their young age.

    Reply
  • Laura Harvey October 29, 2008, 9:09 pm

    Whats everyone doing for safety precautions for Halloween? My husband came across an article (http://i-newswire.com/pr220892.html) with some info about background checking neighbors. I thought that may be a little overboard, but it had some other good suggestions for some precautions I haven’t thought about. Last year my youngest son came down with a massive fever after Halloween. I almost thought about just taking the kids to our church’s fall festival this year instead of door-to-door to prevent that from happening again. I don’t know yet. What’s your advice? Am I over-reacting or just being a concerned mom?

    Reply
  • Fly High October 29, 2008, 11:35 pm

    Wow. You seem to be pretty well prepared anyway. Can’t imagine there are many in the world who have even thought about a fire at home never mind somewhere else.

    Glad you all got out safely.

    Reply
  • Amy October 30, 2008, 12:09 am

    Almir, yes we’re very thankful. Once we got outside the danger was over for the kids. We didn’t know what we were facing when the initial alarm sounded.

    Hus, that sounds just awful. I hope the laws have saved many lives.

    Christa, I hadn’t thought of that. And no, it wasn’t the Fireproof study. LOL. That would have been pretty funny if it was!

    Dextro we were blessed with plenty of adults including 2 trained firefighters at the time. Everyone was very calm when they had to be and saved the freaking out for afterward. That helped.

    Laura I don’t think I’d background check my neighbors. I generally try to do things moderately, so we take the kids around our little neighborhood and call that good. We don’t let them go out without us. A fall festival sounds good. Our town has one but it’s always more than a week before Halloween, and the boys want to go out on the actual night. So for now, that’s what we do. I did hear that we should avoid milk chocolate coins as there’s a recall on some made in China with the tainted milk.

    Basically do what you feel safest doing. You’re responsible for your children’s well-being. If avoiding the trick or treating and going to a fall festival is better then by all means do it. I have a friend whose kids are grown but she told me they never went trick or treating. Instead they used it as a time to do a family dinner out. Restaurants tend to be empty that night, they’d get the kids some candy and have the dinner out and have a wonderful time. I’ve often thought about doing that. Captain Earthquake would be difficult to convince though. That boy ADORES candy, especially in his trick or treating bucket.

    I don’t know if that was very helpful. 🙂 Let us know what you decide to do, won’t you?

    Fly High, thanks! Appreciate you stopping by.

    Reply
  • Acne November 1, 2008, 12:15 am

    I’m so happy that everyone is alright. You know, our neighbor was not as lucky. They all got out, except for a 52 year old woman who they thought can take care of herself. They were able to lead the children to the door but completely forgot about their Aunt who was then sleeping in her room. When they realized that she hasn’t gone out yet, it was too late.

    They had a good escape plan but they forgot to include in their plan, who will take care of who. If they had, the Aunt would have been taken cared of by the one assigned to take care of her.

    Reply
  • Air Jordans November 8, 2008, 10:15 am

    Wooh.. Thats sweat.. So glad nothing bad happened (irony intended).. Hihihi. 😀 See you around. i enjoy reading your posts…

    Reply
  • Amy November 15, 2008, 2:38 am

    Air Jordans, thanks for the compliment. Glad to have you here.

    Reply
  • Free footy March 19, 2009, 10:37 am

    Thank you for this nice article. I really appreciate the writing .. good style. Seems you like your kids. 🙂

    Reply