Fire prevention is such an important topic to discuss with kids. Most in-home fires are caused by accident, and the majority of these accidents can be prevented. In some cases, however, precautions are taken and fires still begin as a result of everyday activities. What tips can you teach your kids to help decrease the chances of a fire?
- Smoke alarms – Even after taking the best precautions, sometimes fires occur. If this should happen in your home, you’ll want to be notified immediately. The sooner you know about a fire, the sooner you can get everyone to safety. Did you know that the chances of dying in a fire decrease by 50% when you have working fire alarms? Installing fire alarms in every sleeping area and on every level of the home is the best way to alert all household members that there is a fire.
- Matches/lighters – Teach children early on that these are not toys. Then, keep them up out of the reach of children. It’s also a good idea to teach them to bring lighters and matches to you if they should happen to find these items.
- Escape plan – Create a fire escape plan that shows two ways to escape from every room in your house. Using a stopwatch, you can then time family members and see how fast you are at escaping the house as a group!
- Response – While installing smoke alarms is certainly an excellent idea, kids need to also know what to do when they hear one sound. You can teach your kids to get low and get out in the event that a smoke alarm sounds.
- Kitchen safety – It’s important to teach kids that the kitchen can be a dangerous place. You don’t want to scare your kids, but you do want them to know this isn’t the room where they can play. You’ll want to teach them to never leave the stove or oven unattended while in use.
- Candles – Candles can be very pretty and can even make the house smell nice. They can also be very dangerous if you don’t take precautions. Teach children to blow out any burning candles before leaving the room or going to sleep. Never burn a candle underneath something. The flames from the candle can easily jump out and grab whatever is nearby such as hanging plants.
- Electrical wiring – Old wires that aren’t up to code pose a distinct danger. Make sure kids know not to mess with any light switches or exposed wires that should be off limits.
- Laundry – Believe it or not, dryers are the root cause of many house fires each year. Dryer lint buildup coupled with heat from the dryer is a recipe for disaster. If your kids are old enough to do their own clothes, make sure they know not to leave the dryer running overnight or when no one will be home.
- Fire extinguishers – Having a working fire extinguisher on every level of the house is super important. But, a fire extinguisher will do no good if no one knows how to use it. Teach your kids P.A.S.S. (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) so they’ll remember what to do in the event of a fire.
- Home base – In the event of a fire where everyone has to leave the house, you’ll want to make sure everyone is accounted for outside your home. To do so, choose a meeting place such as a stop sign across the street or a neighbor’s fence. Make sure your kids know that in the event of a fire, the most important thing will be for them to get themselves to this safe place so everyone knows they’re safe.
Fire safety is super important for families. As adults, we may feel we know how to stay safe but that doesn’t automatically mean your kids know. Taking precautions and educating them on how to stay safe will decrease the chances of a fire and will increase the likelihood of safely escaping one.