When should you explain to your kids about the hazards of fire and how to prevent it? Explain what the biggest fire dangers are? Discuss how to protect your family and friends from a fire?
When most people think about fire emergencies, they don’t think it is something they will need to deal with in their lifetime. However in reality, if fire protection is not taken seriously, the consequences can be very painful. Fire not only takes property, it takes lives.
Fire safety is important for everyone, particularly those with kids and the majority of fire accidents are preventable. Here, we share tips on how to prevent this growing danger to protect your family and loved ones.
1.What are the biggest fire dangers? The most common household fire accidents result from an unattended fire source. Take note of the following in order to avoid a household fire:
- Don’t leave cooking unattended
- Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure place away from small hands
- Don’t use extension cords for heaters – this will help prevent high voltage incidents
- Keep cables clear of any debris. Don’t hide them under carpets or rugs
- Get your gas and electric appliances serviced annually
- Don’t use tea lights on plastic surfaces – use an appropriate candle holder
- Never leave candles unattended. Make sure they are completely out when leaving the house or before going to bed
- Ensure doors close properly within the door frame
- Keep fabrics and furniture at least one metre away from heaters
- Use a fire guard when children are around
- Never dry clothing on top of a fire guard
- Kids think fire is fun
For a child, fire is appealing because it is mysterious and fun. Children associate fire with excitement such as the thrill of candles on a birthday cake, fireworks and sparklers on New Years Eve, barbeques, etc. They tend to try to replicate what they have seen either when alone or with other children, which can result in fatal accidents.
Explain the risks of fire to your child. Even if they are not completely capable of understanding everything you say, if part of the message gets through, it could play a part in saving your child’s life from as young as 6 years old.
To make it appealing to your child, turn the message of fire safety into a game. For example, if your child finds an unattended lighter or matches and brings it to the attention of a parent, reward him or her for doing so.
- Explain the dangers of fire – give examples
It’s very important to speak to your child about fire safety. Explain how fast fire can spread throughout the house and how difficult it is to stop. Offer real life examples and explain the potential life-threatening consequences.
Outline exactly how to act in a fire emergency. For example, if there is something burning in a room and smoke is present, advise your child that it’s dangerous to hide under a bed or in a wardrobe. Adults should teach children to call the emergency services, escape from the room and call an adult for help in this situation. It is imperative that children are able to recognise potential fire dangers and how to prevent them under the guidance of an adult.
Remember to lead by example as kids are constantly observing and imitating their parents. Before you leave your house, double check if the stove is off, the door of the fireplace is closed and the iron is cold and put away safely, etc while your child is present. Eventually, all of these lessons will form part of your child’s good habits.
Again, the learning process can be turned into a fun game or activity. Practice “stop, drop and roll” with your child. Role play a scenario where someone is caught in a fire, then immediately do the stop, drop and roll to demonstrate how your child should react in a similar situation. Drop a blanket to indicate that fire is trapped. An activity like this can be really fun if you involve other family members and will make it easy to remember in a similar real-life scenario
- Rehearse an evacuation plan with your children
Plan an evacuation route from your house in case of a fire and practice it with your family. Turn it into a family game and explore the best escape route from every room. Ask your child: What would you do in a fire emergency?” “ Which door or window would you use?” “Where is the family meeting point?” Plan it and do it!
Teach your child how to crawl on the floor and explain that it is better not to open a door if it is hot. Ensure your child knows how to open the nearest window in case of fire and knows how to dial 999.
- Check smoke alarms
Test your smoke alarms at least once every two months. Identify dead batteries and replace them. Smoke detectors should be placed 10 feet from the kitchen and an alarm system should be inside every bedroom. Usually smoke alarms last a decade – it is highly recommended to replace them it after 10 years.
If you want to learn more about fire safety please visit Siren Training website.