Not Just for Kids

Making the Great Escape

by Mark Burns

What are you going to do if a fire breaks out?

On Wednesday, October 7, families all over America and Canada practice The Great Escape. The drill is part of Fire Prevention Week, which runs October 4-10.

The Great Escape is fun to do and life-saving, too. Families practice evacuating their house so that, when disaster strikes, they are ready.

If a fire breaks out in your house, knowing the drill can get you out in time and save your life. It also helps keep everybody in the family accounted for and lets you all know where to meet.

"It's a really big deal," says firefighter Craig

Wilkerson of Deale Volunteer Fire Department.

"We need to know who's in the home and who isn't."

Drills aren't the only thing you can do.

"Stay put. Don't hide," advises Vince Janowiak, another firefighter from Deale. "A lot of kids are like ostriches. They'll hide and think that since the fire can't see them, they're safe. But if you're hiding, it makes it harder for us to find you."

By mapping your own house and memorizing where to go to escape fire, you can get out safely in the real thing. Here's how to do it:

1. Draw a basic floor plan - that's what you'd see looking down on your house without the roof;

2. Draw in all the doors and windows;

3. Put an X outside, away from the house, in a spot that's easy to find where your family can all meet;

4. Draw arrows showing how to escape from each room and get to the X. Find as many safe routes as possible for each room;

5. Practice. Run through it a few times to help remember the routes.

Other ways to stay safe from fire:

To keep fire-safe, there's a lot more you can learn and do. One thing is to put together your own life-saving house evacuation plan (look at the one on this page to see how). Another is to visit your friendly local firemen.

"Come over anytime to see the equipment," says Wilkerson. Like most firehouses, the Deale firehouse welcomes any kids who want to see the trucks and suits and meet the firefighters. There's also a lot of cool stuff like games and coloring books to take home from your visit.

Kids' Calendar

Classic Campfire Sat. Oct. 10 (7-9:30pm)-Sing songs and roast marshmallows over campfire as you learn about Native Americans at Watkins Regional Park, Upper Marlboro. $2 w/discounts: 301/249-6202.

Be a Planet Protector Enter by Oct. 15-Win a spot among Stonyfield Farm Yogurt's Planet Protectors - kids who help save the environment. Age groups under 8, 8-11 & 12-14 write in telling what they're doing to help protect Earth; winners are chosen for the most unique, useful and effective actions. Everybody wins something; grand prize winners take a trip w/Chris & Martin of Kratts' Creatures to a zoo, science center or national park: 800/pro-cows.

| Back to Archives |

VolumeVI Number 39
October 1-7, 1998
New Bay Times

| Homepage |