by Firefighter Dayna Hilton
Dayna is a fellow pet blogger. We found each other through a site called Blogpaws and I asked her to share with us about her blog and her dog Molly.
Three-year-old Molly the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian with a red vest, badge, and red toenails, is a fire service dog and mascot for the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation.
Molly has helped the Foundation save the lives of several children and their families by helping me make fire safety presentations across the United States. To date, Molly and I have traveled to 27 states sharing the fire safety message.
Another thing we enjoy is live streaming Molly’s Safety Spot every Friday morning. Safety Spot is the only live-streamed weekly fire safety show on the web, and recently we live-streamed our 206th episode!
Molly loves Skyping with school children from around the world. To date, she has Skyped with children from 31 states and 17 countries. If she were to get into her SpotMobile and travel, she would have traveled 11 times around the world or once to the moon!
Molly loves nothing more than helping keep boys and girls safe, and her tail wags very fast when she sees me get her vest down from the shelf! That tells Molly it is time to go to work.
Whether it is sharing a fire safety tip on her Facebook page, visiting schools, libraries, fire departments, or fire museums, Molly is happiest when she is working.
Molly knows 81 tricks, and during the “Reading with Molly” fire safety program, Molly loves to help me turn the pages of my children’s fire safety book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog (a trick she taught herself!). The book was written about my first fire safety dog, Sparkles (the Fire Safety Dog).
Sparkles was a very special dog. She was rescued from a home with 62 other dogs, and my husband and I adopted her in 2003. Sparkles led an amazing life, including appearing on Sprout and FOX and Friends. She participated in a Congressional Briefing, had her photo on the Jumbotron in New York City, and was mentioned in a Senate Committee Hearing and on the Floor of Congress.
I am thankful that Molly is carrying on Sparkles’ legacy and following in her paw prints. She’s doing an amazing job!
Molly likes to hold the smoke alarm in her mouth when we share with the children how important it is to know the sound and purpose of a smoke alarm. Toward the end of the program, Molly shows the children and grown-ups how to crawl low under smoke, and goes to her meeting place.
Molly is super excited when the children sing along to the fire safety songs, and her tail wags non-stop! When the program concludes, Molly holds her paw up as we make the children Jr. Firefighters.
Helping reduce fire-related deaths and injuries, Molly follows in the paw prints of Sparkles, Spanner, Tango, and Siren.
Here are some of Molly’s favorite fire safety tips:
How often should you hold a family fire drill?
Families should practice their home fire drills at least two times each year. That activity will help remind family members what to do in an actual fire-related situation. It is also important for families to practice their fire drills when guests stay in their home, as well.
How should you go about it? Is there a step-by-step plan?
To develop a home escape plan, follow these easy steps:
• Set aside some time for family members to prepare a home escape map.
• Construct a map of the home illustrating all doors and windows.
• Ask family members to identify at least two ways out of each room in the home.
• Post the escape map on the refrigerator door or other public area for all to view.
• Ensure all windows and doors open easily.
It is important to create, review, and practice the family fire drill for each level of the home at least twice a year. That way, family members will know how to quickly get out of their home in case of fire. A quick exit is critical, since a small flame can turn into a major fire within as little as 30 seconds, and it can completely engulf the entire house within three minutes.
Practicing the home escape plan is especially important when members of the home have a disability, are elderly, and are small children. The plan should be practiced during the day and at night.
How often should you change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?
Experts recommend that batteries be tested at least once a month and be changed once a year.
According to the United States Fire Administration, several studies have concluded that when working smoke alarms are present, the chance of dying from the fire can be reduced by 50%.
The challenge is that not all homes have smoke alarms. It is estimated that some 12% of all homes in the United States do not have smoke alarms. Another problem is that almost one-third of the home smoke alarms in the United States do not work; one contributing factor is dead batteries. Another concern is that numerous homes do not have enough smoke alarms to properly alert family members and guests in the home.
How many alarms are needed?
Smoke alarms should be located on each floor level of the home and outside each sleeping area. However, to avoid alarms from becoming activated from cooking fumes and car exhausts, smoke alarms should not be placed in kitchens and garages. In addition, do not place alarms in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and attics, where it can get too hot or cold for the devices.
How can you make sure that they’re working?
Care and maintenance begins with reading the care instructions that come with the smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms have a “test” button that can be pushed to test the alarm. Should the alarm not work after being tested, replace it immediately.
Should the smoke alarms be out of reach for testing, there are different options for smoke alarms. One smoke alarm has a test feature which can be activated by a flashlight being shined upon it. While another brand has a test that is automated, activating at the same day and time each week. If unable to do the proper testing, these smoke alarms can help an individual test the device where proper testing might not be able to be done.
In those smoke alarms that have batteries, change the batteries once a year and occasionally vacuum the smoke alarm to remove dust and/or cobwebs. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Why is all of this important? How many house fires happen each year? How many end in fatalities?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments responded to 370,000 home fires in 2011. In that year, fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in damage.
The leading cause of house fires and home fire injuries is cooking. The second leading cause is faulty heating equipment. A leading cause of home fire deaths is smoking.
Finally, on average, seven people die each day in the United States due to home fires.
Source: 1-4: United States Fire Administration
Source: 5: National Fire Protection Association
Follow Molly’s adventures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mollythefiresafetydog.
Download Molly the Fire Safety Dog app FREE on your smartphone or tablet
About the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation
Keep Kids Fire Safe® Foundation is a Federally-recognized, 501(c)(3), non-profit charitable organization dedicated to teaching fire safety knowledge and skills to children and their caregivers based on fire safety research.
The Keep Kids Fire Safe® Foundation is dedicated to reducing fire-related deaths and injuries among children.
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