Household fire prevention: Teach your kids about fire prevention, escape, and other emergency information
Teaching kids about fire prevention
Fire safety is a major concern for families with children. Each year there are many needless injuries and deaths due to children playing with matches or lighters. Children should be instructed at an early age about fire safety and prevention. It is never to soon to start teaching your kids how to stay safe and prevent needless tragedies.
First and foremost, children should be taught never to play with matches or lighters. Matches and lighters should be kept out of sight and out of mind. Although children can be taught the dangers of incendiary devices, they are naturally curious. A small fire in a trash receptacle can soon turn into a raging inferno that is out of control. Do not make the mistake of assuming your child would never play with matches. That mistake may not present a second chance.
Children should be instructed on what to do if ever confronted by fire. The first instinct a scared child has is to hide. They need to know that fire can find them. Instruct them on a plan of escape should a fire occur in your home. Staying low to the floor where there is the least amount of smoke can help a person make it out alive. Never open a door if a fire is suspected in another room of a building. Unless a person is trapped in a burning building, they should never stay and call for assistance. Instruct your children to get out as quickly as possible. If trapped on an upper floor, the plan of action should be to call for help at a window. Going out on the roof should be the last resort.
To prevent being trapped on an upper level, each bedroom should have a portable emergency escape ladder. Be sure your children know how to unlatch and open windows. If you have double hung, tilt-in windows, instruct them on how to remove a lower pane and window screen. Broken glass can of course cause serious cuts, so breaking the glass should be the last resort. This simple lesson could save lives if a fire were to break out in your home.
It is never too soon to teach children the importance of smoke detectors. In many fatal house fires, detectors are present but do not have batteries. For the price of a battery, lives can be saved. Test your smoke detectors at least once a month. Batteries should be changed at least once a year. Choose a specific date that is easy to remember, such as New Years Eve. Even if you think the battery is fine, change it anyway. This easy task is well worth the effort.
Choose a location on your property where family members should meet if a fire were to break out in the home. During the chaos of a house fire, family members are often overlooked and some have gone back inside to find loved ones who were actually safe. Instruct your kids never to go back inside for anything. Fire personnel are professionally trained and have the proper equipment to go into burning buildings.
Children should be properly instructed on matters of cooking. Young children should never be allowed to use the stove without supervision. It is easy for a child to become distracted and leave food unattended. They can also be careless with flammable items near stovetops. If you feel your child is old enough to use a stove, teach them the rules of safe cooking. Do not assume they already know.
Keep a fire extinguisher readily available on every level of your home. Teach you children how to use it. Read over fire extinguisher instructions with your kids so you are familiar with its use. During a fire, it would be nearly impossible to follow written instructions in a timely manner.
Extension cords are not for long-term use. Instruct your children as well as other adults in your home that extension cords should not be plugged in on a permanent basis. Also, check your appliances and other electrical products for damaged plugs and cords. Any that are worn or damaged should be replaced or discarded immediately.
Following these guidelines will help protect your family from the senseless tragedy of a house fire. Young and old alike, should be educated and informed on proper fire safety.