Fire Safe Kids

December 6, 2005--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR-- It's something you never want to picture, your children stuck inside a house fire. But in the past month 9 children in Arkansas have lost their lives in fatal house fires. Yesterday, a child was killed in a mobile home fire in the Willow Springs Community. Two children died last week in Benton County near Sulphur Springs. Last month, a  toddler and two infants died in a fire at Malvern, while three children under age six died in a house fire in Forrest City, and just last week two children died in Southeast Missouri because of a blaze.

Cold weather is here and so is the holiday season... Two elements that increase the chances of house fires. But what can your family do to stay safe?

"The single easiest thing you can do is check those smoke detectors, are they working, and do they have fresh batteries, that is the absolutely cheapest life insurance policy you can buy," said Jonesboro Fire Marshal Stan May.

97 percent of homes have smoke detectors, but only half of them are in working order. So it is paramount that you sit down with your children and draw up a fire evacuation plan.

"You should always have a meeting place and everyone should know where that is, many times we respond to the scene and someone is unaccounted for," said May.

Children should know at least 2 ways to get out of your house in addition to knowing what the sound of the smoke alarm sounds like. Families should also practice your family fire evacuation plan to simulate a real fire.

"If they practice a certain way they are going to be more comfortable with that and when the time comes to use it, it will be like second nature," said May.

For children to be prepared for a house fire, parents must first be prepared themselves.

"It's almost a 100 percent the responsibility of the parents because it is their responsibility to teach the children and show them what to do," said May.

It's a valuable lesson for children that can have priceless results.