Meet Me At The Mailbox - 10/29/13
We all talk to our kids, but you may have neglected a conversation that could save their lives. October is national fire prevention month. The reasons are obvious. It turns a little cooler, furnaces, fireplaces and space heaters are turned on and those heat sources can cause a fire.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with Rick Donley with the Gallatin Fire Department. Rick and some of his colleagues make safety presentations at schools in and around the Gallatin area this time of year. They talk to children about what to do in case of a fire at home. Donley's group uses a troop of clowns to get children's attention. The state fire marshall named the Gallatin troop "Fire Safety Educator's of the Year" in 2012. Your kids may have seen a similar presentation in your county.
One of the things Rick Donely and his troop tell children is, their families need to make a plan. If there's a fire at home, get out as quickly as you can and meet at the mailbox. That way mom and dad can know who's present and accounted for and who is potentially in danger. Last year in Portland, a few days after one of the clown troop's presentations a house caught fire. A child in that house had seen the clowns and had taken the message home. Because that family had a plan, everyone met at the mailbox. They all got out safely and no one ran back into the house looking for a child who was already safe.
I have a teenager and a 5-year-old at my house. I can't honestly tell you I have any confidence we would all meet at the mailbox. It's a conversation I need to have with my family and a drill I need to practice with my youngest. This has been on my mind ever since my conversation with Rick Donley with the Gallatin Fire Department.
If it's not raining, tomorrow morning after breakfast I'm having that conversation. My son will love the drill. I'll love knowing I talked to him about something that could save his life. It's a conversation I hope he remembers and repeats with his own children one day. And when you're finished, change the batteries in your smoke detectors.