A child in the community of Hall, Montana was killed in a house fire in December, and Safe Kids Missoula sends sincere condolences to the grieving family.

Executive Director Kevi Berger of Safe Kids Missoula is taking the opportunity to point out measures that every family should take to keep children and others safe in a house fire.

“Unfortunately, a family did lose a child due to a home fire,” said Berger. “Among all preventable injuries, fires and burns are the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 19 and under, and so, both Safe Kids.org and Safe Kids Worldwide, kind of our mother ship and our Safe Kids Missoula organization just want to make sure that we were able to get out information about safety and ways to protect our children.”

Berger said planning beforehand is the best way to ensure the safety of the entire family in a house fire.

“One thing that I do with my children and grandchildren is to make sure that we have a fire safety plan,” she said. “If there is a fire, regardless of what room the fire is in, or what part of the house that the flames are, then you're able to have an escape path but also have a meeting place that's outside so if there is an emergency, you're able to get outside and meet your family there.”

Berger said the kitchen can be an unsafe place for children due to the risk of fire.

“The children may not often realize especially when they're little that cooking in and of itself can also cause fires, so we want a safety zone in our kitchen,” she said. “Then if there is a fire, to teach our children to get low and then just go.”

Again, Berger said it’s important for the family to practice a fire escape plan.

You never know you're how you’re going to react when it's an emergency,” she said. “Some people will get very scared or if they have an anxiety or some other health issue, it may take them longer to get outside. So being in a place where everybody can gather and you can see where everybody is as they get out of that house, then it's easier to make sure that you're all safe. In addition, it can keep firemen and first responders more safe because they don't have to worry about who's still in the house if they have to go in after somebody if it's not safe for them to do so.”

Families can contact Safe Kids Missoula for local safety resources at 406-926-2522.


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