Fire Safety for Kids
Most often a child will try to hide from a fire, usually in a closet, or under a bed. Teaching your kids basic fire facts can better prepare them for an emergency situation.
Explain to your kids that fires spread fast, that most of the people that die in a fire are not killed from burns but from breathing in smoke, and that hazardous fumes can overwhelm a person in just a few short minutes.
Kids should understand to:
· cover their mouths and noses with a damp towel or some clothing to keep out dangerous fumes while evacuating.
· crawl underneath the smoke to safety, staying as low to the ground as possible because smoke will rise.
· touch a door (not the doorknob) to see if it is hot. If the door is hot, find another way out.
· find the nearest stairway labeled “Fire Exit” if living in an apartment building, or a fire escape if the stairway isn’t available – tell your kids to never use an elevator during a fire
· never stop to take their personal things or pets or to make a call (even to 911) while evacuating
· never reenter a burning building once safely outside
· stop, drop, and roll to put out flames if clothing catches on fire
Check to make sure that your child’s sleepwear is flame-retardant.
Practice Fire Drills at Home
Fires are frightening and can cause panic. By practicing different scenarios, your family will be less likely to waste valuable time trying to figure out how to handle a dangerous situation.
Planned escape routes are essential, especially if a fire were to happen during the night. Check each room in your house and consider the possible exits. You should have think of two escape routes from each room, in case one is blocked by fire. Inspect the living space to make sure that furniture and other objects are not obstructing doorways or windows.
Be sure that the windows in every room are easily accessible and are not nailed shut or painted over- remember, these may be your only way to escape in a fire.
If you live in an apartment building, check to see if safety bars on windows are detachable in an emergency. Know where the closest stairwells or fire escapes are and where they lead.
If your house is more than 1 story tall or if you live above the ground floor of an apartment building, an escape ladder is worth having. It is safest to have one escape ladder made of fire-safe material (aluminum, not rope) in each upper-story bedroom that is lived in.
Fire extinguishers and escape ladders should be operated by adults only. The ladder must be approved & tested for safety, its length must be appropriate for the size of your home, and it must support the weight of the heaviest adult in the house.
Communicate and practice the escape routes that you’ve planned for each room of your home. Declare a meeting place outside your house or apartment that is a safe distance away (a mailbox, a fence, or even a distinctive-looking tree will do) where everyone can be accounted for after they escape.
Then, every so often, test your plan. Let everyone know it’s time for a fire drill and use your finger to set off the smoke detector and. See if everyone can evacuate your home and gather outside within 3 minutes – the time it can take for an entire house to go up in flames.
Be sure anyone who babysits in your home knows all escape routes and plans in case of a fire.