Families Urged to Plan, Practice Home Exit Drill
Children age 5 and under are twice as likely to die in fires as are older children and adults.
Statistics show that for children ages 1-4, fires and burns are the leading cause of unintentional injury. Many young children die in fires because they instinctively try to hide from smoke and flames. Fear often causes children to hide in a closet or under a bed in the mistaken belief that they are safe from fire.
There is a program that helps protect young children through a twofold process of insuring that there is a working smoke detector in every home, and by encouraging parents to conduct an exit drill in the home with their families.
That is the goal of Operation EDITH, a public service campaign of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina (IIANC). Operation EDITH, whose letters stand for Exit Drill In The Home, has been around for many years as a way to educate parents that practicing a home exit drill and having a working smoke detector can save lives.
The chances of dying in a home fire are cut in half when there is a working smoke detector and are reduced even further if every member of the household knows what to do when it sounds, a news release said.
Smoke detectors can give parents up to three minutes to save themselves and their children from the effects of smoke and the devastation of a home fire.
The three-minute grace period does not, however, allow for indecision or lack of preparedness. Without a planned escape route that has been practiced by the whole family, the successful escape of all family members is at risk. Precious escape time is often spent trying to find children who have panicked and hidden.
During Fire Safety Week, Oct. 5-11, First Pioneer Insurance Agency will distribute parent brochures, posters, coloring books and stickers to area schools and day-care centers. Teachers will spend time with these children talking about smoke detectors and exit drills.
At 6 p.m. next Wednesday, local residents are urged to join thousands of other North Carolina families to plan and practice a lifesaving fire drill. Residents are also encouraged to test their smoke detectors and have every member of the family practice an escape.
Anyone needing more information about Operation EDITH can call or stop by First Pioneer Insurance Agency, 409 Johnson St., Aberdeen. The phone number is 944-2848.
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