Last Updated on August 8, 2023 7:25 am
August is Back to School month in the High Country with classes for Watauga County and Appalachian State University students starting on the 21st. Many young children will be home alone before or after school begins and a large number of college students will be living on their own for the first time. Boone Fire Department wants to share a few important safety tips for students and parents to prepare them for this time.
- Everyone should have a Home Escape Plan and should practice the 2’s. Know 2 ways out of every room. Practice your Escape Plan at least 2 times per year. Practice at least 2 times of the day when it is light and dark. Practice your plan with everyone in your residence until the plan becomes second nature.
- If children accidentally start a fire, smell smoke or hear a smoke alarm, they should Get Outside and Stay Outside. They should ask an adult to call 9-1-1 or call from a cell phone or neighbors house if home alone. If you can’t escape, leave doors and windows closed, place a towel or sheet under the door to keep smoke out, and go to window to yell for help until you are rescued.
- Every Home Escape Plan should have a designated Meeting Place and everyone should meet there in an emergency. Remember, do not go back inside for anything until an adult says it is safe to do so.
- Matches and lighters are tools, not toys. They should not be left where children can reach them and children should never play with them. Many fires are started by inquisitive children playing with matches or lighters.
- Most home fires in the US are attributed to unattended cooking. It is recommended that children never cook without an adult present. Families should plan snacks and meals that do not require the use of ovens, stoves, toasters and microwaves while parents are not present in the home and kitchen.
- Families should take five minutes a day to talk about important safety topics such as: Stop Drop and Roll (for burning clothing), Get Low and Go (to stay below and not breathing smoke), not playing with matches or lighters, emergency exits, fire extinguishers, calling 9-1-1, address numbers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, topics listed here and many others. Time spent now will make you more calm in an emergency and could save your life.
- College students should practice all these topics as well. Familiarize yourselves with campus, dorm and apartment rules and regulations. Be sure to know policies on cooking, smoking, portable heaters, use of candles, grills and other open flame devices at your university and town you live in. Many universities do not allow cooking and open flames such as candles in dorms.
Practicing these tips will prepare and keep you calm when an emergency occurs and could speed your reaction, saving your life. For more information, to schedule Fire and Life Safety Education, or schedule a courtesy home safety inspection, call Boone Fire at (828) 268-6180. More information is also available from your school system or online by searching any of these topics.