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Back to School is the Time for Escape Planning

            As students prepare to return to school the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control urges parents to be aware of Escape Planning for their children who are returning to school.  For both younger children as well as college students, escape planning can be the difference between preparedness or tragedy.  “Being prepared is the key to reacting appropriately during emergencies”, stated Alan Zygmunt, Public Education Coordinator from the Connecticut Fire Academy, “Just as our children will be practicing fire drills at school, we should also practice them at home and discuss fire safety with college students as well.” 

            For younger children CFA offers the following tips:

  • Have a plan for young children who cannot get outside by themselves. You will need to wake babies and very young children and help them get out. In your plan, talk about who will help each child get out safely.
  • Know two ways out of every room. It is important to find two ways out of every room in the house, in case one exit is blocked or dangerous to use.
  • Choose a meeting place outside the home. Children should know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Help them practice going to the outside meeting place. Teach them to never go back inside a building that is on fire.
  • Practice your completed fire drill with all members of your family.Everyone should practice the plan both during the day and at night.

For College bound students, parents need to be aware of fire safety when choosing student housing.  Ask the following questions:

  • Are there working smoke detectors in each bedroom and on each level of the building?Check them monthly and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Are there two ways out of each room, including those on upper floors? Second exits are usually windows for the first floor, but a second set of stairs for upper levels.
  • Are there enough electrical outlets for all appliances without needing an extension cord?Overloaded extension cords are a common fire cause.
  • Does the building have sprinklers or a Fire alarm?These internal building features are the best defense against fire.

By thinking about fire safety before an emergency, your whole family can ensure a safe and happy school year.  The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control.  Part of their mission is educating the public in fire and burn prevention.