Fire: Locator Window Decals
Locator Decals for children and the disabled are not recommended. Here's why.
Vancouver firefighters occasionally receive questions about the use of locator decals (such as "Tot Finder" window stickers). The Washington Public Fire Educators, a section of the Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs, has taken the position that the decals are not believed to be a reliable means of ensuring the safety of children or mobility-impaired people.
When firefighters are summoned to any building fire, their first action upon arrival is to verify that all occupants are safe - and to initiate rescue efforts if they are not. Firefighters are specially trained and equipped to make a thorough and systematic search for anyone trapped inside a burning building. It is believed that by using the window decal system, critical time could be lost with firefighters looking for windows marked with decals - with no assurance that anyone could be in the marked room.
Washington Public Fire Educators maintains that the best way to protect family members in the event of a fire is to:
- Have working smoke alarms/detectors on all levels of your home (at a minimum).
- Develop a home fire escape plan.
- Practice the escape plan with all members of the household twice a year.
- There is no standardized, endorsed type of sticker.
- Decals can alert a burglar or other intruder that an easy entry can be made into the home. A child or invalid may offer little or no resistance.
- The average family moves every five years. When a house changes hands, room occupants change. As a family grows, the use of rooms may also change and if the decals are not moved, they become meaningless.
- Occupants may be in another part of the house when the fire first occurs or while trying to escape.
- Decals may give a false sense of security (i.e. leading people to believe there is no need to have a family escape plan, escape ladders, etc.)
www.nfpa.org (General fire safety information)