Fires kill thousands of people each year. According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, 24 people in Missouri already lost their lives in fire-related incidents. In New York, more than 100 individuals died in fires this year (so far). There are still four months left in the year. Now is the time for parents to help children understand the dangers of fire and help children learn how to stay safe in the event of this type of emergency.
Here are five tips to help children stay safe and learn fire safety:
Teach children that fire is not a toy.
Plan a family fire evacuation route and talk about fire safety.
Discuss fire escape strategies
Teach older children how to use a fire extinguisher.
Don’t forget; stop, drop, and roll
Don’t Play with Fire: Beware of Matches, Lighters, and Fireworks
Fire is not a toy. Children should never feel that it is appropriate to play with lighters, matches, or even fireworks. Not only could children be severely injured from one of these items, but even a small match has the potential to ignite a big flame.
Always teach children that fire and devices that ignite fires are only for adults. Children also should not attempt to turn on the stove, oven, or another type of electrical cooking appliance.
Schedule a Family Plan for a Fire Drill
Children participate in fire drills at school; these drills help them understand where to go and what to do during a fire. At home, parents can schedule a fire drill to help children understand how to escape the home.
In the event of a fire, children and parents should know the easiest way to escape. Review a fire escape plan with children. Help them learn which exit they can use in each area of the home. Most importantly, teach children how to escape from their bedroom.
Parents also should devise a meet-up spot for the family. Tell children where they need to meet after they escape the home. The meet-up area should be a location that offers a safe distance from a burning home.
Discuss Fire Escape and Survival Strategies
While helping children understand their quickest escape route can be essential to survival, children also need to know specific strategies that can help them survive their escape. For example, children should touch knobs before opening a door. A hot knob indicates the fire is outside the door (and that door would NOT be a safe escape).
Smoke leads to death in most house fires. If smoke is billowing, teach children to cover their faces with a piece of cloth (like their shirt) and to stay low to the ground. This ensures that they don’t inhale dangerous smoke.
Children Should Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Using a fire extinguisher is fairly simple. Many older children can learn how to use an extinguisher to put out a small fire.
Teach children PASS–this means pull, aim, squeeze, sweep. Show children how to remove the pin (pull), aim the nozzle (aim), squeeze the trigger, and then sweep the flames.
Each fire extinguisher is labeled for the type of fire it can extinguish. A Class K is used for kitchen fires (grease and cooking oil), a Class C is for electrical fires, A is a basic extinguisher; there are many different extinguisher types but they all are operated with the PASS protocol.
Remember: Stop, Drop, and Roll
Gen X parents likely remember the PSAs that taught children to ‘stop, drop, and roll’ as a way to extinguish flames if their clothes caught on fire. This strategy still is the best way to teach children about how to react if their clothes ignite.
Stop means ‘don’t panic.’ A fire needs oxygen, and running would cause the fire to spread. Drop indicates that the child needs to lie on the ground, and roll means roll around (like a log). This maneuver works!
Explore All the Safety Tips!
Black Jack Fire Protection District wants to keep children safe. Every month, the District posts a new fire safety article. Visit the Resource Center to learn more tips and use them to educate children about fire safety and prevention!
The Black Jack Fire Protection District is devoted to fire safety, emergency preparedness, and community protection. We invite individuals from all walks of life to join us, offering support and resources for the safety and well-being of our community. Whether you're a concerned resident or a potential volunteer, BJFPDt is here to ensure your safety and provide assistance when needed.