A Memphis house fire this week claimed the lives of nine people, including six children, ages 2 to 17. It was the city’s most deadly blaze in nearly a century.
With this tragedy on all of our hearts, CMDS would like to encourage you and your family to evaluate your own fire prevention and safety plan.
We held a previously scheduled fire drill at school Tuesday, and tested our new, zoned fire evacuation procedure. We will be holding the drills monthly and will keep you updated on these procedures every step of the way. We believe it’s important for us to partner with you to ensure that all CMDS students know what to do in an emergency.
Please take a minute to read these home fire safety tips from the American Red Cross.
Have a plan.
Talk with all members of your family, especially your children, about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice per year. In the event of a fire in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape.
(Keep the urgency of timing at the top of your mind. The Memphis Fire Department arrived to that South Memphis house in the wee hours of Monday morning a mere four minutes after the 911 call. The fire was contained 15 minutes after that. And, still, nine lives were lost.)
Test your alarms.
Test your smoke alarms monthly. And if they’re not working, change the batteries. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms be replaced every 10 years.
If a fire occurs in your home, get out. Stay out. And call for help. Don’t be tempted to rush back into the house in an effort to save your personal effects.
Install more alarms.
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home. They should be inside every bedroom and outside every sleeping area. You also should teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and exactly what to do when they hear one.
(The Red Cross also has a mobile app – Monster Guard – that’s designed to teach children how to prepare for real-life emergencies. The free app is available to download here: redcross.org/monsterguard.)
We ask that the entire CMDS community make time to pray for the families of those who lost their lives in South Memphis this week. Pray for the children’s father and grandfather, for their classmates at Cummings Elementary School, for the first responders who are forever changed, for all those in the community who are directly touched by this loss.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland took to Facebook Monday to make the same request: “Our entire city is in mourning over the loss of life in today’s house fire. I ask Memphians to take some time to pray for the family, to give them strength.”
CMDS will hold other emergency drills throughout the year, including earthquake and lockdown, and we will make sure to alert you of those as they occur. All children need to know procedural differences for a fire (GET OUT!), earthquake (DROP, COVER and HOLD ON!) and lockdown (HIDE!).
The safety of our students is our highest priority, and we look forward to working with you to make our children safer.