Locator Window Decals
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 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.
- 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.
- Inspect your home to prevent fires before they happen.
After considerable research, the fire educators oppose the use of child/invalid window decals for the following reasons:
- 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.)