Preventive Measures

From Feb. 11 to 13, 24 firefighters from Northern Door fire departments put in 200 service hours to demonstrate fire prevention protocols to 195 Gibraltar elementary students.

Every child learns about fire prevention in a kitchen mock-up with a variety of everyday props depicting unsafe conditions. Following that exercise, the students move into a bedroom mock-up complete with a heated door simulating fire in the hallway outside, a smoke machine forcing smoke under the door which requires kids to block the gap, and a window with an escape ladder down which the students escape to safety.  Once the children have gathered at their safe meeting place, the final exercise is a simulated 911 call on a closed-circuit phone system that is entirely realistic for the kids.

Three lessons to take home:  few families have developed and/or practiced a home escape plan; few families test their smoke detectors monthly, change the batteries twice a year, and replace detectors after 10 years; and most kids know to call 911, but telephones may be too complicated for children to dial.