INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The Bloomington family of two-year-old Kenneth Dale Lane Jr. is not alone. Sadly, two other Indiana families have also recently come to learn the pain of losing children in a house fire.
On Nov. 28, four children died when a Logansport house caught fire. Then on Dec. 28 three kids died when a house burned in Tell City, near Evansville.
“We cannot stress enough having working smoke alarms,” said Wayne Township Fire Captain Mike Pruitt.
Fire officials say that’s just one step to keeping your family safe. Investigators say in the Logansport and Bloomington fires neither home had working smoke detectors.
“You can start as early as three years old and kids truly do understand the idea of getting out,” said Indianapolis Fire Department Spokeswoman Rita Reith.
Fire experts say it’s never too early to make a plan and teach it to your kids.
“Make sure that you as a family all understand that plan and that you practice that plan,” said Reith.
And when it comes to fire safety, practice doesn’t just make perfect; it can also save your kids’ lives.
“They spend a lot of time on an iPhone or an iPad these days learning games,” said Pruitt, “the same can be said for teaching them about fire safety.”
But officials say preparations don’t simply begin and end with having a plan.
They say to be safe, test your fire alarms at night to make sure your kids will actually wake up. They add that it’s important to practice your family’s escape plan once a month, and make sure to include a designated meeting space outside your house.
And when kids learn about fire safety at school, they say reinforce it at home to keep the conversation going.
“What we’re teaching the kids is coming home with the kids,” said Pruitt, “but the adults are not taking what we teach the kids and practicing it at home.”
They also say parents shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to their local fire departments to answer any questions you’ve got or to see if they have any fire safety programs your kids can take part in.