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the Fire is Out:
The Firefighter's Role in Preventing
A family, shaken but unhurt, stands at the curb
watching you walk toward them from their home. Some smoke still drifts out of a bedroom
window. Their son decided to play with some matches, and the fire quickly got beyond his
control. But the fire is out. They are safe.
What do you do now? If you just put out the fire
and walk away, it could be like leaving the scene with an ember still burning.
There are plenty of ways you can help prevent a
future tragedy. Talk with the family about how they can stay safe from fire in the future.
Ask whether they have an exit route from their home, and explain the importance of
E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In the Home). Talk about the importance of keeping matches and
lighters really out of reach of children, not
just in an unlocked drawer. If they dont have a working smoke detector, make
arrangements now to ensure they get one.
Dont rely on just handing them a pamphlet. Take a minute to talk to
them and you are more likely to make a real difference.
Parents are more likely to really listen if you tell them the facts without
seeming to lecture them. Remember, its all in how you say it. Rather than say: You should
supervise your child better, you might explain: Most people dont know
that many fires set by children are set in their own bedrooms. So even though we think our
kids are safe at home, we still need to keep an eye on them. If youre a parent
yourself, tell them how you can relate to the problems of supervising children.
You can do so much more than just put out fires.
You have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of teachable moments. A
family is looking up to you. Fulfill their expectations of you as a hero -- by
sharing your knowledge of how they can keep their children safe.
For the complete
article "After the Fire is Out," by Robert Cole, Robert Crandall and Carolyn
Kourofsky in the October 2003 issue of Firehouse
Magazine, contact us at [email protected]