Emergencies are scary for parents and children, particularly at events. When a bomb threat is made or there are rumors that a disgruntled attendee plans to attack attendees, it's enough to keep parents awake at night.
Parents have a right to question their children's safety in school or at events.
As a parent, especially for teens and pre-teens, you'll want to teach your children basic emergency preparation.
"Thousands of people die in building fires and explosions each year because emergency exits are not clearly marked, blocked by objects, or locked," explains the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp.
You should teach your child to:
- Scan the room to know where emergency exits are located in the event that an emergency occurs. These areas should be clear of boxes or obstruction. Knowing where emergency exits are located is key to the child's safety.
- Check for a smoke if a fire breaks out. Check the exit doors or any door prior to trying to open the door. Scan cracks and under the door to see if smoke is coming through the cracks. If smoke is coming through, do not open the door.
- Lightly touch the doorknob to ensure that the knob is not hot before exiting. If the doorknob is hot to the touch, search for another exit.
Children will need to take additional precautions to keep smoke inhalation at a minimum. When making their way to the door, it's important to stay low so that there's no smoke inhalation.
Smoke rises, so stay low or even crawl if there's a need to avoid the smoke.
Exit doors that lead to the outdoors are the ideal option to help avoid the smoke. Opening the doors will allow oxygen to enter the space and can make the fire worsen as a result. Once outside, do not go back indoors for any reason even if there are pets left behind.
Parents need to also know their rights in an event that their child is hurt during an emergency or even dies.
It may be possible to sue the event manager or the venue for any incidents wherein a child is injured. The venue, by law, must ensure that the exit routes have doors that are 28" wide and have signage that clearly shows every exit. There must be no obstructions, and the exit route's door must swing outward when pushed.
If a child was injured or dies because of an obstruction or walks out into the middle of traffic because the exit door was improperly placed, it's possible to sue for damages. The damages will include emotional and physical damages that occurred.
It's also the responsibility of the venue to clear sidewalks and provide proper covers in areas where ice or snow may block an exit.
Parents should teach their children basic fire safety protocols and practices to keep children safe. Schools should teach children some of these basic techniques at a young age, but it's up to parents to reinforce these rules and even research a venue's safety record prior to letting a child go to an event.