It’s a parent’s nightmare: the house is on fire and they can’t reach their children. Worse, even if the smoke alarm is going off experts say your children may not hear it, so they may not save themselves.
Having a working, reliable smoke alarm has proven time and again to save lives from house fires. However, smoke alarms are only one piece of the safety puzzle. Forensic scientists and fire investigators are warning parents that smoke alarms may not wake children.
According to research, the frequency of the alarms may be too high-pitched for young children to hear, especially for male children. Children are biologically different. They sleep differently than adults and they remain in a deep sleep longer than adults. Because of this, a smoke alarm may not be enough to rouse them from sleep.
The fire brigade, as well as smoke alarm providers, recommend that families have a solid fire escape plan in place. Parents are encouraged to practise the plan with the children but remember it’s a lot different to practise in a controlled situation than it will be going through an uncontrolled fire.
As parents are developing the family’s fire escape plan, experts recommend they also plan for how they will help children who are not awakened by the alarm. By having a tested plan in place that has been practised, parent’s will be able to quickly assess the situation and assist the children. In the case of fire, seconds can make a life-saving difference.
Family Fire Escape Plan
To develop your family plan, download the Smoke Alarm Specialists Fire Escape Plan 6-Step Checklist.
- Make a floor plan which clearly indicates all doors and windows in your home and at least two escape routes from each room.
- Determine a place outside your home (e.g. the letterbox or front fence) where all family members can assemble if a fire occurs.
- Discuss your escape plan with all members of your family. Show everyone, particularly young children, what to do in the case of a fire. Make sure all family members are familiar with the sound of the alarm, where it is located, and how it works.
- Regular practise helps protect your family. Sound the alarm regularly and practise your family’s fire drill. Practise what you will do if your children aren’t awakened by the alarm.
- Only working smoke alarms can save lives. Create a weekly reminder on electronic calendar or wall calendar to test your smoke alarm.
Fire Safety in Rental Properties
Landlords and property managers are advised to include tenant education as part of the annual smoke alarm service. Smoke Alarm Specialists is a leading local provider of smoke alarm services in Victoria and Melbourne, Australia. Our all-inclusive service includes educating tenants about their responsibilities while renting, and providing fire evacuation advice specific to the property’s floor plan. For more information, visit smokealarmspecialists.com.au.