PARKERSBURG - During fire prevention week, firefighters want to take the time to give parents safety tips on their children having sleepovers and slumber parties.
"During gathers with children involved it is important to have all potentially dangerous items stored properly, such as portable gasoline tanks, matches, lighters and propane tanks," said Capt. Tim Flinn with the Parkersburg Fire Department. "It is popular having cookouts and small campfires during these gathers and just some friendly reminders for the hosts to recognize."
Eight out of 10 fire deaths take place in the house, with the majority of home fire deaths occuring late at night, officials said.
"If you don't know for certain that the friend's home is equipped with working smoke alarms, don't take the risk," said Judy Comoletti with the National Fire Prevention Agency's public education division. "When it's your turn to have other children stay overnight in your home, make sure they know what your home's fire escape plan is."
During the early morning hours of March 24, 2012, a fire that engulfed a Charleston home killing eight people including a group of children. Media outlets at the time reported six children, all under the age of eight, died in the fire.
The unidentified victims were two sisters and their children, neighbors told a local news station. An adult woman escaped the two story house around 3:30 a.m. and called 911. The blaze was called the worst fire over 20 years and potentially Charleston's history.
* How well do you know the home? Does it appear to be structurally sound? Is the home in a safe area?
* If the home has security bars on doors and windows, do you know for certain that the bars have quick release devices inside, so your child could get out in an emergency?
* Is your child comfortable in the home and with all the occupants?
* How well do you know the parent(s)? Are you comfortable leaving your child in the home overnight?
* Are they mature, responsible and conscientious? Will they supervise the children throughout the stay?
* Are they cautious with smoking materials, matches and lighters, and candles?
* Are there working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level, inside and outside each sleeping area? Are the alarms interconnected?
* Do they have a well-rehearsed fire escape plan that includes two ways out and a meeting place outside?
* Where will your child be sleeping? Is there a smoke alarm in the room? Are there two escape routes from the room? Will the parents walk through their escape plan with your child?
* Do the parents prohibit bedroom candle use by children?
That's why the Parkersburg Fire Department said it's important to have a plan when it comes to sleepovers and having/sending children to a stranger's house.