Fire officials say fires earlier this week a good reminder to have a plan

Two people were still in the hospital recovering Wednesday night, after being severely burned in a house fire. Officials said the parents had gone back into the home looking for their children. This is just one of several fires that have sent people to the hospital over Christmas. With the drop in temperatures, fire officials said this is a good reminder for everyone to have a plan.      

Kevin Hines works for the Austin Fire Department. He said knowing what to do when you hear the sound of a fire alarm could be a matter of life or death. It’s all basic tips we’ve been taught growing up. But some may forget when an emergency situation happens. “You want to get as low to the ground as you can and make your way toward the door  before you open the door make sure you check the door for heat and if you don't feel any heat, you can open the door. Don't always think of the way you normally come in the house, think of any potential exits you have, people most often go out the way they come in and sometimes that's not the safest way to exit the house.”

John Marney is a Fire Specialist for the Austin Fire Department who has a 3 –year-old son he practices fire safety with. “One of the things I do is set off the smoke alarm, and see what my son does. Kids hide in closets, under beds, they will do the strangest things,” he said.

He suggests parents teach children at a young age. “We teach them that a house will fill up with smoke, and smoke rises, and if they stay low and feel for doors, and they crawl, that they can avoid being in the bad elements”

He says most importantly that everyone should have an emergency plan and practice, “When it does happen, they will revert back to what they know. So if you have a meeting place you can account for your family members and your loved ones. I think it's just giving them memory, what this sounds like, what you're supposed to do, why this goes off is very important. If you expose them, it becomes something in the back of their mind and it will prove useful if something unfortunate happens in the family.”

Marney says it's important for people not to try to fight fires by themselves or go back into a burning home. He suggests calling 911 immediately and getting firefighters involved, so they can do their job. He said it’s unfortunate what happened earlier this week “Hearing those stories my heart goes out but that's what the fire department trains for and that's why we have the tools that we do.”

Marney suggested people change their fire alarm batteries twice a year, when daylight savings begins and ends. He also said this is a good time for families to practice their emergency drills.

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