Sometimes people simply overlook the fact that their children need to be taught about fire safety. You might think that you will always be around to protect them or that they will never be in a fire-type situation by themselves, but that is simply bad planning. Fires are never expected and they can happen at any time. What if you are not there? What if you cannot get to them in time? Your children need to know about how to protect themselves when there is a fire. Going over the basic concept of how to protect oneself from a fire is always a good idea.
Basic Fire Safety Principles:
It is important to remember that a lot of fires that end up being started could have been easily prevented had people been a bit more vigilant. The most likely culprit will be a frayed wire that has been around for a long time. Always insure that a wire that is breaking up is replaced. Also, do not let outlets become overburdened by four or five things being plugged in. Try to split them up as best as possible, or get a surge protector as a safe extension cord. Speaking of extension cords, it is best to avoid them as often as possible.
Do not let your children use portable heaters and most definitely do not let them use kitchen appliances by themselves. While it is fine for them to get food in and out of the fridge, it is not safe for children to be operating microwaves, toasters, stoves, and ovens.
Cigarettes, candles, matches, and lighters are also common causes of fires. While modern cigarettes do not burn as strongly anymore there is still a chance a stray lit cigarette could cause a fire. Matches should be extinguished safely and immediately, and lighters should be kept away from any electric appliances. While it is okay to light candles from time to time, always do it safely and always keep the candle away from where you are sitting. This will ensure no one knocks the candle down on the floor. Also, the last person to leave a room should ALWAYS blow out the candle.
The best thing you can do to keep your home safe is to invest in smoke alarms everywhere. The mistake many make is to disable the smoke alarms in certain rooms if they are smoking there or cooking. While it is understandable if you want to disable the smoke alarm from time to time during cooking, only do so if you know that you will be in the kitchen at all times. Disable the alarm, cook (do NOT leave the kitchen at any time), and once you are done enable to alarm again. Keeping the smoke alarms enabled in all other rooms is important so you will know if there is a fire anywhere in the house.
Practice Fire Drills
While it may seem silly, it is always a good idea to practice doing fire drills with your kids. This will allow them to be prepared for an actual fire. Go through, slowly, the details of what they should do if a fire emerges from certain parts of the house. Show them the quickest way to get out of the house and what they should and should not be doing if they see a fire. If you do enough practice drills, their reaction during a fire will be a lot faster.
Tell Your Kids What to Do and What Not to Do
There are certain things everyone must tell their kids about fires. If there is a fire, it is best to take a moist towel and cover your face. This will help breathing. It is always best to crawl to the ground as you are making your way through the house, as smoke will rise as high up as possible. Touch a door (not door knob) to see how hot that room may be. If it is not hot, go that way. If the door is hot, chances are the fire is from that direction so you should turn around and go another way. NEVER stop for anything during a fire, unless someone else’s life is in danger. Forget possessions and anything else; just get out of the house.
If you tell your kids all of this, they will be adequately prepared in case of a fire.
Fiona writes about home and family safety for EssentialFireSafety.co.uk.