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. 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 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.
We can help protect our young children through a two-fold process of insuring 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.
During Fire Safety Week, October 9 - 15, 2011, First Pioneer Insurance Agency and the IIANC are urging families with young children to join Operation EDITH. On Wednesday, October 12th, at 6:00 PM, plan and practice an Exit Drill in the Home - It could save your child’s life.
First Pioneer Insurance Agency will distribute parent brochures, posters, coloring books and stickers to Moore County schools and day care centers. Teachers are invited to spend time with these children talking about smoke detectors and exit drills. Students in Pre-K through 3rd grade are encouraged to participate in the Operation EDITH coloring contest. Winners will be selected from each grade level and pictures will be displayed in the lobby at First Pioneer Insurance Agency and on the company Facebook page.
Operation EDITH will focus on three messages:
• Have a working smoke detector
• Practice a home exit drill
• Get Low and Go - Stay under the dangerous smoke and get out of the house!
For more information about Operation EDITH, see your local independent insurance agent at First Pioneer Insurance Agency or visit http://www.pioneerinsurance.com.
Q & A
Why have a fire safety program for young children?
Tragically, children age five 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.
• From 1989 to 1998, there were 35,376 residential fire deaths in United States and of those deaths, 5,712 were children under age 5.
• The risk of residential fire death in United States for children under age five is 1 in 33,671; for the population age 5 and over, it is 1 in 80,748.
• On average a child under age 5 dies in a residential fire every day.
• Fire is the third leading cause of unintentional death for children under age 5.
Why is the problem so pronounced with younger children?
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 the fire. Fear also causes many children to escape to safety without telling anyone about the fire. They may fear blame, so they do not alert an adult to the fire. Other children left in the home often die or are injured.
What is the goal of Operation EDITH?
Operation EDITH seeks to educate the parents of young children about the importance of talking about what children should do if there is a fire. The cornerstone of the project is an Exit Drill In The Home, thus the name EDITH. Parents will be urged to practice an Exit Drill at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 12th, when participating local fire stations sound their sirens. If families are located in areas where no siren is heard, they are still urged to practice their Exit Drill.
How does the project work?
Independent insurance agency personnel across the state will deliver packets of educational materials to schools throughout the community. These materials will include coloring books and stickers for the children and informational brochures on fire safety for parents. The brochures that parents will receive stress the importance of practicing an Exit Drill In The Home with young children. Parents will be urged to:
1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors on every level of the home.
2. Prepare a home exit plan which includes two exits from every room, especially bedrooms, and designate a family meeting spot.
3. Practice the home Exit Drill as a family on Wednesday, October 12th at 6:00 PM, and then twice each year.
Posters may also be displayed in local independent agencies, community businesses and at community events to spread Operation EDITH’s important message.
In addition, local Fire and Rescue personnel may schedule sessions in area schools (Grades K-3rd) to teach children three important fire safety tips with activities to illustrate:
1. What a Smoke Detector Sounds Like
2. What to do when the detector sounds - Get Low and Go!
3. Go to a Family Meeting Spot Outside the Home
The Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina are pleased to be working with and supported by the NC Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin and local fire and rescue providers.
Operation EDITH - Get Low & Go!
A fire safety program & statewide Exit Drill In The Home on
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
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First Pioneer Insurance Agency serves the insurance needs of individuals, families, businesses and farms throughout North Carolina and other states.