Why Every Parent in America Should Know about Home Fire Drill Day

BY: - 4 Oct '17 | Parenting

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I hate to admit this…but sometimes my kids behave just like me, especially when it comes to some of my more “embarrassing or quirky” behaviors.  You see, I am always tripping, falling, getting startled, screaming, and running around the house in circles when scary movies are on or when I see bugs or lizards. And when our kids exhibit such behaviors, you can find my husband laughing and shaking his head. He’s probably thinking: “They get it from their mama.”

And for the most part, we think it’s funny. But there are certain serious situations where we want our kids to think clearly (and not panic or run in circles.)  And this is why we talk to our kids about how to react when strangers approach, or if someone is trying to bully them, or if they see wild animals loose in the neighborhood or if there is a Zombie invasion (ok, yes we watch too much Sci-Fi.) But up until recently, I’ve never talked to them about what to do if there was a fire in our home.

We talk to our kids about a lot of things, and now we are adding Home Fire Drills to that list.

We talk to our kids about a lot of things, and now we are adding Home Fire Drills to that list.

Over the next few weeks, I am partnering with Nationwide to spread the word about their Make Safe Happen (MSH) program to help raise awareness about home fires and to provide families with the information they’ll need if they’re ever faced with a home fire.

Saturday, October 14, 2017 is Home Fire Drill Day, a day when families across the country are encouraged to practice home fire drills, ensuring that the American family, especially the kids, know what their escape plan is and are prepared in the event of a home fire. And since my kids and I are somewhat excitable (yes..that’s a nice way of putting it), we need to know our escape plan like the back of our hands.


What I found out is that I am not the only parent that has never discussed home fire drills with the kids.  In fact, a Nationwide Make Safe Happen survey of more than 1,000 parents found that less than half the parents (that were surveyed) created a fire escape plan with their children.  But given that home fires are one of the biggest threats facing American families today, home fire drills should be discussed and practiced by every family in America.

I live by the motto: “when you know better you do better.”  And thanks to Nationwide and their partners (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Red Cross (ARC)) I now have so many great resources to conduct home fire drills at home with my kids.  On the site, HomeFireDrillDay.com, you’ll find:

You know what else I found out?

I found out that many Americans (62 percent) incorrectly think they have five minutes or more to escape (American Red Cross), when in fact, a family has less than two minutes to get out safely. This means that my kids and I have no time for hysterics and running in circles.  We are going to practice home fire drills so my kids are familiar with the sound of the smoke alarm and they already know what to do if it should sound off in our home.

Home Fire Drill Day is October 14, 2017. Here is our escape plan.

Home Fire Drill Day is October 14, 2017. Here is our escape plan.


Let’s face it, although home fires are a very serious topic, practicing home fire drills can be a lot of fun and can help to save your kids’ lives. Checkout how much fun this father is having practicing with his kids in the video below.  I might be quirky, but my husband is seriously competitive and I know he is going to turn this into a competition.

Make a pledge to practice your home fire drill twice a year and get your friends to do the same. Help us spread the word about Fire Drill Games on social media.

I pledge to play Fire Drill Games with my kids on Oct 14. Learn how your family can play too #HomeFireDrillDay http://homefiredrillday.com Click to Tweet

BMWK Family – Let us know in the comments below if you already practice home fire drills with your family or if you plan to start practicing them.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Nationwide Insurance. The opinions and text are all mine.


About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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6 Tested Moves to Fake Positive Co-Parenting in Public!

BY: - 4 Oct '17 | Parenting

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by Alexis Dobbins

We all know there are times when you and that other parent must be in the same place at the same time. Same place, space.

For couples who had an argument before they left the house that morning, faking it is no big thing. They know that at some point they will get it together, whether it’s over a late-night snack, or at the breakfast table. If it was a big issue, perhaps one or the other parent may be the late-night snack…but some kinda way, they worked it out. They’re married.

But for co-parents who have a difficult time going beyond, “Hey, how are you?”, what happens when you HAVE to be seen together? What happens when the expectation is 2 happy parents, laughing and smiling? Weddings. Graduations. Birthday parties. You know.

No child wants to sit in the middle of mom and dad during Back-to-School night to prevent the drama that may start up at any minute. There are just some events when you have to fake it until you make it.

Before my breakthrough, I was bomb at this game. I learned how to get past those “public parenting” moments – before we learned that positive co-parenting worked so much better for everybody. If you aren’t ready for prime-time yet, these six tips will get you through those rough moments. For sure, they’ll get you to smile a little bit.

There is nothing like being prepared. So, before you get there:

Spend some time practicing the appropriate facial posture

In the mirror, so if any adjustments need to be made, you can see them. Remember that different occasions call for a different facial gesture. Back-to-school night? Work on that focused, attentive gaze. Subtle head-nodding to indicate understanding or agreement.

Family picnic? Practice a wide, ‘I’m-so-happy-to-be-with all-of-you’ expression. You don’t want overdone, but you want happy. Pleased. Delighted.

Graduation? Little sad yet proud look. You want to look as if you’re going down memory lane, but if that’s counter-productive, don’t. Props are good. Tissues are a must, Tissues can cover tears of sadness, tears of joy, I’m so over-the-moon with excitement I’m crying, whatever. Of course, if you have tissues nobody knows whether you’re really crying or not. They also give you a break from looking at the other parent. Don’t leave home without the tissues.

Create a list of safe topics

I always remind clients that triggers are real. They may not make any sense to you, but nonetheless they are real. If the other parent, say, has a hard time with the word ‘responsibility’ don’t try to make idle chatter about homework and parental responsibility. Not in public, anyway. You always want to have something that you can say when the silence gets silly, and you realize people are wondering why those parents are chewing so hard while not looking at or talking to each other. (Chewing is number 3).

The list can be short – you aren’t going to do that much talking – but have something that will work. Sports, if that’s his thing. Makeup if that her thing; “Oh, did you have a chance to grab a free lipstick during that MAC giveaway a few weeks ago?”. The trick to this is to stay safe. Be short. If it gets ugly, you can always have some trouble with your chewing.

If you need co-parenting help click here to schedule a free discovery call with Alexis.

Pack some gum and chewy candy or similar items

I can’t tell you how many times I have made a facial gesture indicating I had something to say, but gee, I can’t, because my mouth is full. This one can get addictive, resulting in weight gain. No problem; pack sugarless candy and sugar-free gum. And it also works for the other parent, especially one with a tendency to say foolish things in public. “You really need this gum” will get him or her every time. Then, you get to say, “Sorry, I can’t understand you, finish chewing”. Repeat as often as needed.

Dress based on prior knowledge.

I know this one is hard. If you and the other parent are struggling with the positive co-parenting process, the last thing you want to do is choose your attire based on their feelings. But it’s about the children, not you. If he ever made a comment like, “that dress is slick” or “I like that skirt”, use it to your public advantage. Put it on.

If she told you that suit made you look like “a responsible adult” or “a boss”, work with it. Think of it as a job interview. Once it’s over, you can put on whatever you desire but play to the audience. Why is this important? It’s proven that people are less likely to say something ridiculous to someone while admiring their appearance. He or she may even smile. Minutes count when you’re doing this public thing. When the shine of your look starts to wear off, then you start chewing and move to the tissues. Trust me.

After your prep, you arrive at the venue. No problem, you also have on-site strategies:

Stage and/or stagger your arrival

What does that look like? If he/she is always late, try to get there a little early, or vice-versa. You saunter – or sashay – into the venue looking very relaxed while scanning. (Like you’re driving – good peripheral vision, always ready to change direction or move to a different lane, uh, row). If its crowded, go for just enough seats for you and the babies; then text, “you won’t believe how crowded it is, I was lucky to grab seats for me and the kids. I think I saw a seat (somewhere else)”.

This is great because now you come across as looking out for that other parent, plus you can stop chewing. If there are plenty of seats available, try and grab the one on the end. You know, for easy exit in case you have to use the restroom, spit out your gum, reapply lipstick, answer that critical phone call (although that smells of rudeness so that is always the last resort). Give yourself options and know that you are prepared whatever the seating. You’ve got it covered.

Hum or chant softly to yourself

What song do you use to create calm all around you? What song reminds you of waves lapping up to the shore, summer breezes blowing, peace all around? Whatever that is, hum it. Softly. Of course, you can’t sing out loud but keep those lyrics going in your head.

Transport your mind to that last amazing vacation in Puerto Rico. The trick with this strategy is that your facial expression remains on point. Still. Chanting quietly is even more difficult, but you can do it. Mentally. Affirm that you can do this for your child. Thank God for improving your co-parenting relationship in the future and for allowing you to fake it right now. That usually gives you a little divine glow and you can smile briefly at him or her. Before you grab a tissue.

These strategies are not clinically proven. They are not based on any specific counseling techniques. They do, however, work. And that’s the goal. The appearance of positive co-parenting until it becomes real. If you have any tips for co-parenting public moves, let us know!

Alexis Dobbins is a co-parenting expert. She is a Mediation, Counseling and Coaching practitioner who specializes in supporting co-parents with the strategies needed to maintain a peaceful environment for their children. If you need co-parenting help click here to schedule a free discovery call with Alexis.

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1259 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com


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