Memphis Fire Museum urges families to have fire safety plan

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- On Tuesday, fire safety experts reminded families they should have an escape plan.

Those who run the Fire Museum on Adams Avenue in Downtown Memphis said, unfortunately, the tragedy in South Memphis early Monday morning calls for awareness.

On Monday, nine people died in a home on Severson Avenue after it caught on fire. Six of the victims were children; one was as young as three-years-old.

"Something like this happens, though. You know those little kids walk down here all the time--one of those things," said Tony Hayes.

It's an unimaginable loss. For neighbors like Tony Hayes, who knew these South Memphis children, it's difficult not to get emotional.

"You don't think about something like this until it happens," said Hayes.

The Memphis Fire Museum said now is the time families need to start thinking.

"It affects everyone in the whole city," said Thomas Hubbert.

Hubbert is a fire educator. He talks to children and families about the importance of fire prevention and safety if a fire breaks out in the home.

His biggest piece of advice--plan.

"You need to have two to three ways out. You need to teach your children how to get out, have a plan how to get out."

Hubbert said fire drills aren't just for when school is in session.

"You should practice with your children you should know where to go, have a meeting place outside the home for them," he said.

Hubbert said smoke detectors need to be checked once a month. In yesterday's deadly fire on Severson Avenue, firefighters said the smoke detector did work, but some of the victims suffered from severe smoke inhalation. Hubbert says he tells families when there's smoke," You get low, you stay low and go."

County officials said it's important everyone is on the same page. A big issue here in Memphis is also making sure the family is safe, some homes have a double key deadbolt lock.

"They ought to have a key in a place where everybody in the family knows where it's at, close to the door," said Allen Medlock, Director of Shelby County Code Enforcement.

Medlock also said current code said new security bars installed on windows and doors need to be able to detach or unlock from the inside.