Genius German Parenting

Fire and booze are the backbone of any German celebration. Christmas? Fire and booze! New Year’s? Fire and booze! Easter? Fire and booze! I’m not complaining, mind. Most things are more fun with some fire and booze added. In fact, maybe we should start an “Every Day that Ends in Day” fire and booze tradition.

Christmas fire and booze
Christmas fire and booze

During the week, I was telling one of my students about my first Easter Fire (and booze) experience. The conversation moved from there to fire in general and then on to smoke alarms and fire drills. Yes, a lot of my conversations are rambling.

Easter fire and booze
Easter fire and booze – and some firemen

Germans are nothing if not safety-conscious so it didn’t surprise me to hear that he had a plethora of smoke alarms in his house, all interconnected so that if one goes off, they all go off. However, you can have all the nifty technology in the world but people are, unfortunately, still people.

One night, when all of the smoke alarms went off, he watched as his wife and two young daughters ran around like headless chickens, unsure of where to go or what to do.

No, it really IS an Ausgang
No, it really IS an Ausgang

As it turned out, there was no fire and everyone was fine but still, this simply would not do. NEIN!

Luckily, as a German, a plan is never far away. All the better if that plan involves scaring the bejesus out of your loved ones – in a fun and educational way, naturally. I like to think that he started formulating his cunning plan it as he stood there in his manly German Hausschuhe, though I can’t be sure.

After drilling a fire escape plan into his hapless female family members, he went out and bought some dry ice. He put it in bowls in various strategic locations around the house and added hot water to it. Then he set off the smoke alarms. His newly-educated wife and daughters had to find a way out, avoiding the “smoke” that was now billowing around their home.

Once they made it outside, they encountered a fire raging in the garden. With the help of teamwork (and a garden hose), they managed to put out the fire. Fortunately for them – God knows what kind of a plan B he would have come up with.

In keeping with the German love of paper, each of them received a certificate, and a medal, as proof of their now bad-ass fire-escaping abilities.

I think my dad, a habitual smoke alarm-checker, would be rather impressed by this approach to family safety. If he reads this post, I predict some dry ice in Mammy O’Grady’s not-too-distant future…

I just hope she wins the medal. I’ll be rooting for you, Mammy O’Grady!



59 thoughts on “Genius German Parenting”

  1. We have smoke alarms in our house, but heaven help us if we ever have a fire. Getting out safely, with 3 cats in tow, won’t be easy ;( Then again, it’d have to be a massive explosion (not likely) to make it impossible. Well, now I know what I’ll be dreaming about tonight 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. are firemen considered sexy in Ireland too? For us Americans for sure….for the Italians – not really – – -which surprises me for some reason….I guess any authoritative figure is automatically a loser in Italy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha! Not much respect there then! I remember thinking the Carabinieri were sexy when I was in Italy – sorry if that spelling is all over the place! And I thought sexy firemen was a worldwide theme – clearly not! 🙂


    1. And if you can learn that fast, imagine the effect it had on kids 🙂 Hope they fixed it relatively quickly – so annoying to listen to! Though I guess you got some time out of the office 😉


      1. In my office building we have a “shelter in place” protocol. If you are more than 1 floor away from the “zone of danger” you are supposed to stay where you are. Yes, it’s as dumb as it sounds. I mean, if I don’t leave my floor, how else will I run into the firemen?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have a feeling that if our smoke alarms went off I would attempt ti snooze my phone several times before I realised something was up!

    I am very glad this never happened to me as a child, I once refused to stay at a friends house when I discovered they had a fire alarm…In my not quite 5 yet brain, this meant they were more likely to have a fire and I would almost certainly die if I stayed there!!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I think that just lets you test them and then switch them off again. Still, the effort of getting up, finding a chair, standing on it, and jabbing upwards would probably wake you up anyway 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha, brilliant! And as someone already mentioned, the certificate at the end is soooo German! I can imagine some English parents making their kids do the drill, but they wouldn’t get anything for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha, you know what I find most German about the whole private fire drill scenario? The certificate at the end! That’s how Germans roll. It’s not real if it hasn’t got a stamp on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha! True! And they’ll probably both put them in their Lebenslauf in the future – you know, you have to include every certificate and piece of paper you’ve ever received! 😉


  5. This is hilariously brilliant. I mean I’m not going to do it, but it’s pretty amazing. You’d think after surviving a house fire I’d be a touch more concerned with my own fire safety. Maybe when we live in a place that has more than one floor and fewer windows that may change…probably not. My laziness knows no bounds.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He is all about his certificates and trophies. Granted most are from his job, but they’re all in a binder in those little clear protective covers, because of course they are. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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