Kids aren’t always aware of the consequences of their actions, not how to react in emergencies. If you are a parent you need to ensure your child’s safety in the event of a fire. Teaching them general fire safety and specific strategies for emergency situations can help keep them safe. Let’s dive into the various dimensions of fire safety for kids;
EASING YOUR KIDS INTO FIRE SAFETY
1)Understand the danger:
Many children don’t know how to react to fires, and may even hide from them, without getting out to safety. But if you teach them basic fire facts and tell them gently what to do to be safe, they will be able to protect themselves. Here are some interesting facts:
- More than half of fire-related deaths happen to children under four years old.
- Fire injuries increase in adolescence, as being a teenager is a time where risky behaviour increases.
- Boys are more likely to be injured from fires than girls are, as boys are more likely to take part in risky activities.
2)Handle the topic carefully
While you don’t want to scare your child or make the possibilities sound like a scary movie, you do want to make sure they know what dangers fire can bring. Talk about general safety often; you can talk one-on-one in discussions about what to do in emergencies, and you can bring the issues up more casually too, as you talk about movies, games, and make-believe.
- Make sure your kids know about policemen and firefighters. By focusing on these fun, child-friendly icons, you can reinforce the general ideas about safety. When you and your child use toys or props to “play firefighter”, you’re actually building their understanding of fire safety, which is a good thing.
3)Mix serious discussions and practice with play, too
You want your child to take the topic very seriously, but you also don’t want to scare them. Anything practiced in play has the power to become “learned” and habitual; if you practice escape routes around your house as part of a firefighter game, they just might use those routes again in the event of a real emergency.
TEACHING YOUR KIDS FIRE SAFETY
1)Demonstrate how to escape
Tell your kids two ways to escape from their room and that to get out as soon as possible.
- Ensure that your kid can escape and check the windows can be opened. Place escape ladders and ropes near windows and balconies.
2)Enlighten them to feel for safety
When there is a fire, it will be dark and hard to navigate the house. You can blindfold your kid to simulate the situation.
As annoying as songs are, changing the lyrics to your child’s favorite nursery rhyme might be the thing that saves their life.
4)Instruct them about fire alarms
According to studies, some kids don’t actually know what fire alarms do. Ensure your kids know that fire alarms alert you of fires, how to recognize the noise they make and to make sure that the batteries haven’t gone flat.
5)Ask children to touch doors to see if they are hot
Tell your kids not to open doors if they are hot because hot doors allow the fire to spread more.
- Children must know to never touch hot door handles and if they absolutely must, to use a towel or other piece of cloth. The cloth can also double up for face and respiratory protection.
6)Inform them about stop, drop and roll
Teach them to crawl on the floor escaping a fire and roll if they are on fire.
- Tell your kids to never run if they are on fire, this only makes it worse.
- Also, practice and review fire safety each months, go over what they know on fire safety each month.
TEACHING A CLASS ABOUT FIRE SAFETY
1)Organize a field trip
Call up your local fire brigade and ask to book an appointment. It this a great opportunity for them, especially since many children are scared of firefighters.
- Remember that firefighters could potentially get called to a fire and have to cancel your appointment.
2)Run a fire safety competition
Ask your kids to do a poster or essay about fire safety. Get them to cover how to escape and what to do in a fire.
3)Make red the color of the week
Many fire related things are red such as fires, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants and fire trucks. Get them to brainstorm and draw any other things that are red. You can even give them a red reward to keep the red theme going.
4)Show them how to follow fire exit signs. Walk them around the school and point out the fire exits. Tell them that fire exit signs are everywhere and will always remain illuminated.
Even if kids know how to evacuate their home, schools are very different. Dramatize a fire emergency at school, you can even add obstacles and block off exits to make it more challenging. Make sure the kids know the emergency assembly area.
6)Cover fire safety equipment
Teach your kids about fire blankets, fire alarms, fire hoses, fire alarms and fire extinguishers. You can even get them to find this fire equipment around the school and get them to check that they are working.
You can read more on this here.
TEACHING KIDS FIRE SAFETY TECHNIQUES
1)Teach your kids how to escape safely from fires.
Get them to understand fires spread quickly and that most fire-related deaths come from smoke inhalation, not burns. Tell them dangerous fumes can overcome a person in just a few minutes. Practice crawling on the floor and escaping the house with them. If there are no passageways available they will have to use a secondary escape route such as a windows or ladder, and if there is still no escape route, wait at the window for firefighters. Drill into them the famous slogans:
- Don’t hide, go outside
- Stop, drop and roll
- Fall and crawl
- Do not play with matches
2)Teach them to call Emergency Services
From an early age, drill into them the phone number to call in an emergency. Teach them your country’s Emergency Services phone number and if they are old enough, that the international standard emergency number for mobile phones is 112.
3)Discuss with your kids what to do during a fire
Remember not to be too serious which can frighten them, but serious enough to get your point across. Here are the main points kids should know:
- Smoke is very dangerous and that they should cover their mouth with a damp cloth.
- Smoke rises and they should crawl on the floor.
- Teach them the basic roles of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire ladders, fire hoses and fire blankets.
- Touch the door, never the doorknob, to see if it is hot. Find another exit if it is hot.
- Know how to locate a Fire Exit sign and to never travel in an elevator.
- Enforce the serious danger of matches and how they can injure themselves.
- When evacuating never stop, not even to make a phone call to Emergency Services and never to go back inside.
- Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch on fire.
4)Practice until your kids know it by heart
Try using a stopwatch and giving them a time limit to get out. Make it a game and be creative with your teaching methods. Kids will be more likely to remember what to do in a fire if you do it with them. Children love Stop, Drop and Roll.
5) Teach them tips for avoiding fire emergencies
Don’t assume they already know something or they cover it at school. Teach your kids facts and safety tips:
- Matches and lighters are not toys.
- Wear long sleeves and cover pots in the kitchen,
- Check that smoke detectors are installed.
- Change smoke alarm batteries each year.
- Go to the meeting place when there is a fire.
We all know kids could be little dynamites, but the last thing we want is them starting a fire or being seriously harmed by one.
As an adult, you may know what to do in these situations but the same can’t be said about kids. Especially as you can’t guarantee you’ll always be there to protect them.
This is why teaching them fire safety at a level they’ll comprehend is very important.
Stay in touch with us for more safety tips and please do well to reach out to us for a professional consultation session, should you need one.