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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
September is National Preparedness month and the Bakersfield City Fire Department is reminding parents to talk to their children about evacuation plans before disaster strikes.
Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza joined "First Look with Scott Cox" Wednesday and talked about simple things parents might forget to tell their kids.
"Fire safety is a life lesson," Galagaza said.
Although kids might not know how to work matches, they do know how to work lighters and a simple wrong move with fire can end up in tragedy. Galagaza and simulcast host Scott Cox agreed it's crucial to create an exit plan from homes.
"You have to know where the meeting spot is after running out of the house in the middle of the night," Cox said, talking about his own house fire experience.
The scariest part of running out of a fire is not seeing everybody who was in the home outside safely. In desperation, parents might run back inside to try to save someone. And that is something Galagaza does not recommend people do.
"Stay outside because as the fire progresses it inflames fast and we don't want you to become another rescue," Galagaza said. "Your chances of survival minimize if you go back in."
Not only is creating an evacuation plan important but, putting it to practice is just as important, especially with small children.
Galagaza recommends parents practice exit drills twice a year or even quarterly. Make a game out of it so kids are more engaged and can retain the information.
Being consistent with conversations about safety with kids will help them be prepared, Cox said.
Along with a safety plan, Galagaza also encouraged people to purchase a disaster kit that with essential items to keep a person alive for three days. Cox recommended buying a supply of PowerBars and water, among other necessities.
For more information on National Preparedness Month, visit bakersfieldfire.us.