Home Safety Challenge Tour – On the House

Home Safety Challenge Tour

By on August 18, 2015

We were writing this while waiting for a return flight home after spending the weekend participating in the First Alert Home Safety Challenge Tour. And what an eye-opening experience it was. As our main focus we were supposed to spend our time there entertaining guests with our knowledge of home remodeling. Instead, we ended up brushing up on some very important facts about home safety. We are moving into the hot season and what that means is increased possibility of home fires. We didn’t realize it – but in California alone – last year – 13,000 homes were lost in fires.

Moreover we learned that children and adults alike are not as well versed in matters surrounding a home fire. In fact, when it comes to home fires there is plenty to be learned and/or relearned. For example: Most folks believe that a fire is a “bright or light” event. Not so, in a house fire black and grey smoke cloud the air and substantially decrease visibility. On the tour, a large Plexiglas chamber is filled with smoke that visually represents how visibility is impaired rather than improved. This is one display that does a real good job of visually dispelling an old wives tale.

The fire extinguisher challenge was another surprising event. We learned that both parents and their children were not familiar with the proper operation of a fire extinguisher. For a fire extinguisher to be effective it must be used in a very specific way. On the tour we learned about the “P.A.S.S.” method:

  • P = Pull the pin.
  • A = Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire – not up high.
    Be sure to stand back – between 6- and 10-feet from the flames.
  • S = Squeeze the trigger.
  • S = Swipe the nozzle from side to side covering as much area as

It was amazing to see families participate in this important learning experience. And to share in how accomplished each of the participants seemed to feel as they learned how to do it the right way.

In addition to fire extinguisher training there was a special obstacle course devoted to teaching children how to escape from a burning room. They tagged this one “The Great Escape Obstacle Course”. The event is timed on a stop watch and children who participate win their very own firefighter’s helmet. Course time begins when the participating youngster rings a very large brass fire bell. There are 5 very important lessons taught here:
. How to “stop, drop and roll” when your clothing catches fire.
. Crawling low to avoid smoke filled air.
. Checking the exit door to be sure that it isn’t hot.
. Dialing 911.
. Traveling directly to the family meeting place.

Each child is individually walked through the course by an instructor. This is where the game turns into a real educational experience. The course briefing is literally a series of how-to safety instructions. The instructor explains to the child that the first event is called “stop, drop and roll”, he demonstrates the procedure and explains that rolling over the flames extinguishes them.

The next part of the course involves crawling through a cardboard tube that is about 10′ long and 3′ in diameter. “When making an attempt to escape from a smoke-filled room you must crawl on your hands and knees to stay below the smoke”, he instructs. As the youngster exits the tube he or she must choose to exit from one of 2 doors. This is the next part of the course. The instructor explains that a door should never be opened when there is a chance of fire on the other side. He explains that this can be checked by touching the door to see if it is hot. Since it would be dangerous to use a burning door for training, colored panels are used instead. A hinged compartment that conceals a colored panel is fitted to each of the two doors. The child is informed that he or she must NOT go through the door with the red panel because it is the hot one. The door with the blue panel MUST be selected – it is the safe door. The instructor is able to change the colored panels before the contest begins. The youngster must select the proper “COOL” door by opening the compartments and finding the blue panel.

After getting through the door the child must run to a large mock up of a telephone where the numbers 911 must be pressed. And finally, the child must run to a nearby tree and touch the trunk. The instructor reminds the child that 911 is everyone’s emergency telephone number and that in the case of their own home the tree might be something else – a mailbox, a gate or whatever the family agrees is a safe place to meet in the event of an emergency. Children are asked to find out about this place from their parents.

Another course involves identifying smells in various boxes. The first box contains the fragrance of a rose. The second box contains the smell of automobile exhaust, the third box contains no smell at all and the last box contains the smell of natural gas. The instructor explains what carbon monoxide is and that it is the smell contained in the third box – the box that has no smell. Here the youngster not only learns that carbon monoxide is a poison, but that it is a tasteless, odorless, clear and invisible gas.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching a child learn something new knowing that – in the event of a real emergency – that child may survive because you were there for them.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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