Fatal fire raises demand for family safety training

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A fire that killed six family members in their Indianapolis home is raising the issue of fire safety.

"Are you guys ready," an Indianapolis Fire Department trainer asks a room full of home-schooled children.

The children are ready to learn to live.

"The lights are down low," a firefighter tells the children.

Then, a piercing beep - a smoke detector.

"Our house is on fire!" the trainer shouts.

The children are taught to touch the bedroom door first.

"It's hot," one says.

That's why you need two ways to escape.

"Get down low. That's where your good air is to breathe," the IFD lieutenant tells them as they make for a mock-up of a bedroom window.

As the students slide down a realistic-looking peaked roof to safety, the trainer reminds them to go to the pre-arranged family meeting place.

At the IFD "Survive Alive House," it's about making families fire ready. Get out, then get help.

After Saturday's fatal fire on Olney Street, IFD says the Survive Alive House has seen a spike in calls from parents wanting more fire safety training for their kids.

So next Saturday (March 8), Survive Alive will open its doors to the community from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

"Just trying to make sure the message gets all the way through to the adults that they can make the changes in their house that's necessary," says IFD Capt. Aleatha Henderson, who runs Survive Alive.

Parents and kids need to know about smoke detectors, proper placement of them and the risks of misusing space heaters.

A series of fatal fires like one on New Jersey Street in 1996 sparked Survive Alive. Four brothers died in that blaze.

But since Survive Alive and other efforts started, there's been a 70 percent drop in child fire deaths.

"It's good for them to see it firsthand and learn how to do it, because in the moment, you get a little nervous," says mom Kim Shrum.

Two students said they learned to "check your smoke detectors once a month." 

Joseph Dyer remembered if you're in your bedroom and the alarm sounds, "It's best to go to the door, take the back of your hand and put it in the cracks and see if it's hot or not."

"How to escape from the house," will stick with Brinley Shrum.

Henderson says just days after the Olney deaths, "it's a great thing when we can take something like this and make a positive out of it."

Survive Alive House