Local daycare centers practice fire safety in wake of Pennsylvania fire

MOLINE, Illinois -- Several smoke detectors, home inspections, and monthly drills -- all ways local licensed at-home daycare centers ensure they are prepared when disaster hits.

After a fire broke out in Erie, Pennsylvania -- killing five children -- officials discovered there was only one working smoke detector in the home.

According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Rock Island County is home to nearly 200 licensed daycare providers. One of those being Kim Stickell, owner of Leaps and Bounds Daycare in Moline.

Stickell began her daycare center 14 years ago, when her youngest child was just three years old. Today, she watches over two of her own grandchildren... and then some.

"I'm licensed for 8 total," Stickell said.

When it comes to running an at-home daycare, Stickell said there is an added level of responsibility.

"I see (the kids) as part of my family. My family is part of their family," Stickell said. "Accidents happen and it’s important to me to make sure that I prevent every possible accident."

In order to do that, DCFS and the Department of Human Services require any licensed at-home daycare provider in Illinois and Iowa to have a working smoke detector on every level in the home, as well as one in any room where children sleep or nap.

"(Regulations are) very strict on how many smoke detectors they have, and where they should have the," said Moline's Fire Marshal Jerry Spiegel.

"In this house, we have seven smoke detectors," Stickell said as she counted them aloud in her head. She said she is also required to post a planned escape route and do monthly fire drills.

"I think it's important for children to know if they hear a noise/a sound -- whether they're at their grandparent's house, aunts house, at mom and dad's house --  that the sound is an important sound," Stickell said.

"Those kids need to know, like the back of their hand, how they’re getting out of this home," Spiegel said. "Because it’s not their home. They’re just visiting."

For a list of licensed Illinois daycare providers, click here. For a list of licensed Iowa daycare providers, click here.

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