Editor’s note: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), someone in the United States dies in a house fire every three hours, and the FDNY reports that more than 77% of NYC’s fire related fatalities in 2013 occurred in residences without working smoke alarms. On a quest to meetup with a team of real FDNY firefighters, get educated, and have our children go through a variety of hands-on experiential learning activities about fire safety, the NYC Dads Group teamed up with Kidde Fire Safety to meetup at the FDNY Fire Zone in Rockefeller Center. NYC Dads Group member, Wallace Wong, did a wonderful job recapping the recent adventure and documenting our experience so our audience can be better educated. – L.S.
On a recent Saturday, immediately following another great NYC Dads Group event at an advanced film screening in Times Square for the remake of Annie, a Legion of Fathers and their kids double timed it over to the FDNY Fire Zone in Rockefeller Center.
There, we were greeted by a real-life fire engine right at the front door. The children quickly geared up with bunker coats and five-pound helmets and hopped into the drivers’ seat. Of course, some of the knobs operated the fire truck’s working water pumps, which of course, had to be tested. So we gently herded our little ones further into the Fire Zone where we learned about fire safety from New York’s bravest.
Captain Jim provided a wealth of great information, which we wanted to pass along to your family with these ten simple steps to fire safety:
1. The number one cause of fires are overloaded electrical circuits. Always use multi-outlet surge suppressors instead of extension cords. Always be alert for burning rubber odors or dimming lights which are symptoms of an overloaded electrical circuit.
2. The four next most common causes of fires are: combustibles, like blankets, left too close to space heaters, not minding cigarettes, children playing with matches or lighters, and hot cooking oil on the stove.
3. For cooking oil fires in the kitchen, cover the pan to choke the fire or smother it with baking soda. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire or you could be badly burned by splattering oil.
4. Many fires occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when families are asleep. Who knew? Keep smoke alarm batteries fresh; change batteries every 6 months when changing clocks for daylight savings. Or use a Kidde Worry-Free smoke alarm with a 10-year sealed battery and never change a battery again.
5. To prevent carbon monoxide (CO, which is odorless and invisible) poisoning, install CO alarms per manufacturer instructions, and if applicable, at least 15 feet away from gas appliances like stoves,
ovens, heating systems, and automobiles to prevent nuisance alarms. Keep those batteries fresh too.
6. Have an escape plan and practice it with all family members regularly.
7. When surrounded by smoke, keep low to breathe easier and improve visibility.
8. Always test doors with the *BACK* of the hand before opening them. The back of the hand is less sensitive and will not impede crawling if burned as much as a burn on the palm of the hand.
9. Train children how and when to dial 911, and teach them to recite their address.
10. Too often children are found hiding in a closet during, and tragically, after a fire because they are generally scared or are frightened by a scary figure (firefighter) coming through a window or
door. Teach children, “Don’t hide, GO outside!”
Here’s a few other interesting facts about firefighting:
1. Why are there poles in the firehouse? So the firefighters can get to the fire truck more quickly in an emergency.
2. The average response time to an emergency for FDNY is four minutes and fifteen seconds.
3. The official mascot of the FDNY is Hot Dog the Dalmatian. Find Hot Dog on Instagram @FDNYHotDogOfficial.
Towards the rear of the facility opened a secret garage door. Every inch adorned with patches representing fire houses near and far. We proceeded into a (club) smoke filled room appointed with many examples of items in a home which could catch or cause a fire such as a burned out couch, a mock kitchen stove, and a space heater. In this room, Captain Jim queued up a variety of short videos demonstrating fire safety and had an extremely interactive discussion with our children.
To conclude the hands-on experience, everyone went down on all fours and crawled through a smoke filled hallway to practice our technique. But of course, before proceeding down the smoke filled hallway, we had to test a door with the back of our hands to make sure it was safe to continue.
We would like to extend many thanks to the brave firefighters of the New York Fire Department and firefighters outside New York who sacrifice and risk their lives selflessly to save others. Now, it’s time to install my new Kidde Worry-Free bedroom smoke alarm and develop a fire escape plan for my family!
Here are some helpful links with more about fire safety:
Web site for the FDNY Foundation, which funds many of the FDNY’s fire and life safety efforts
Learn about about fire safety and educational programs. You can also download a variety of materials such as informational brochures and children’s materials like the FDNY coloring book.
– FDNY on the official NYC web site; current news and happenings
|Ready to learn about Fire Safety|
|Future FDNY Firefighter?|
|Testing out knobs and water pumps|
|Getting educated by the FDNY|
|Meeting “Hot Dog”, the FDNY mascot|
|Secret garage door of FDNY Fire Zone learning theater opens|
|Ouch! Feel that “hot door” with the back of your hand|
|Crawling on the floor to safety in smoke-filled hallway|
Bio: Wallace Wong is an active member of NYC Dads Group and father of two children residing in New Jersey with his family.
**Disclosure Note: NYC Dads Group has been compensated to organize this sponsored event with Kidde. We met their dynamic team at the Dad 2.0 Summit two years ago. We’re fortunate to be able to collaborate with Kidde and continue to only work closely with quality brands that we value and believe in.**