Guide to Teaching Children Fire Safety
According to Government statistics,
“6000 fires a year are caused by children under the age of 10. In addition, more than 500 children under the age of 11 are injured and 11 children are killed on average in fires in the home in England each year.”
These shocking statistics reinforce both how devastating fires can be and also just how important teaching our children fire safety is.
So if you’re a parent, this guide will provide you with helpful advice and information on how to teach children comprehensive fire safety practices…
Reducing the risks
Firstly, one of the best ways to protect your children from the threat of fire – particularly at a young age – is to put measures in place within your home to reduce the risk of a fire occurring. The London Fire Brigade have suggested enforcing the following steps will make your home, and your children, as safe as possible:
- Never leave children on their own in a room where a fire risk is present – eg. with a fire or heater on in your living room, whilst cooking is underway in the kitchen etc.
- Never let your children play near the oven or hob,
- Keep ignition sources (matches, lighters, candles etc) out of reach of children.
- If you have an open fire or heater, surround it with a childproof fireguard.
- Keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can’t be knocked over.
- Place plug guards into sockets so children to play with them or poke things into them.
- Keep all your fire escape routes clear and unobstructed at all times.
Talking to your child about fire
The Government’s advice on fire safety for children suggests that, as a general rule, children five and under should be given clear and regularly repeated instructions on what they should and shouldn’t do. Then, once they’re a bit older, you can go into more detail and explain why.
It’s also important to remember that children tend to forget things easily, so you must make sure you go through fire safety rules regularly and enforce them in everyday life.
Teaching them what to do in the event of a fire
One of the most important tools you can give your child is an understanding of how to safely, quickly and effectively escape from a building in the event of an emergency, and this includes making comprehensive escape plans for your home. Fire safety experts recommend using windows and doors to plan two routes out of each room and you should practice your escape plan with your children regularly.
In addition to planning and practicing various routes out of your home, you should also teach your children the following instructions in the event of a fire:
- If you see smoke or fire, raise the alarm and tell a grown up immediately.
- Get out of the building as safely and quickly as possible. Once out, call the Fire and Rescue service on 999.
- If smoke is present in your escape route, crawl along the floor.
- Never hide in a cupboard or under the bed. Do everything you can to raise the alarm and get out of the building.
- If your exit is blocked, go into a room with a window. Place clothes, towels or blankets along the bottom of the door to block the smoke. If you have a phone at hand, dial 999. If not, open the window and shout for help.
- Never go back into the building – not even for your pet or favourite toy.