You don’t need us to tell you how devasting fire can be, but your children might. But how do we educate children about fire safety without terrifying them? None of us like to think about the “worst” happening. Should there be a fire in your home will your children know what to do? Are you confident your children understand the dangers fire poses? To help educate your little ones (and not so little ones) about fire safety we have created this short guide.
Depending on the age of your children talking to them about fire, the risks and how to stay safe is usually the best starting point. Try to get across that fire is an excellent tool but it is not a toy. Talk to your children about the fire safety measures you have at home, like your smoke alarms. Test the alarm with them so they know what it sounds like and explain what should happen if they hear the sound. This is where you could introduce a Fire Escape Plan. A fire escape plan will cover what should happen in the event of a fire, including a gathering place outside, a safe distance from the house. To find out more about creating your own Fire Escape Plan read our article here. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have some great online fire safety games and quizzes to play with your children, these will help the message stick in their minds.
The main point to get across to children is that fire is not a toy. Whilst Bonfire night is fun and fireworks are pretty, an out of control, accidental fire is something to be avoided. The risk of a fire can be drastically reduced, here are some pointers to share and to bear in mind:
- Don’t overload electrical sockets
- Don’t leave lit candles unattended
- Keep small children away from oven, heaters, microwaves and any other source of heat
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, if found tell an adult
- Regularly inspect electrical appliances, if the cord, casing or plug is damaged do not use
- If you have an open fire in your home, make sure there is a sturdy fire guard in place
- Do not let children leave toys near a fire or a heater
- Keep escape routes free from clutter and obstacles
- Keep children’s bedroom doors closed, in the event of a fire this will prevent it spreading to their room
In the event of a fire
During a fire it is very important that everyone remains calm. To help prepare children run through the following actions with them:
- Raise the alarm – tell an adult or call 999.
- Stay low – to avoid smoke, you can even practice crawling along the floor.
- Drop and roll – another one to practice, should clothing catch fire it needs to be smothered, so drop to the ground and roll around.
- Touch doors – if there is fire on the other side of the door it will be hot, teach children not to open hot doors.
- Don’t hide – it might be scary but hiding might be the worst thing your children could do, but it will be instinctive, so this may need to be repeated.
- Out and stay out – perhaps the most important point is to tell them to get out and stay out. Make sure you have a pre-arranged assembly point a safe distance from the home.
We hope you have found our Fire Safety for Children guide helpful.
Until next time… stay safe!