Losing everything in a home fire is a horrifying thought as it is the place where you live with your beloved ones. A home fire can start from anywhere inside the house and at any time. The fire hit children the hardest because they are most at risk during the disaster. In fact, kids under five years of age are twice more likely to die in house fires than the rest of the age group. Most of the children are unaware of what to expect and what action to take in a fire emergency. Also, they tend to play with hazardous household items, such as lighters and matches, when they are left alone or unattended at home. Children playing with fire can often lead to a devastating event of a fire. When it comes to fire safety, taking sensible precautions in the house and teaching your kids about how to escape from the fire can make a lifesaving difference. In this article, we are discussing several tips for protecting your kids from catastrophic fire incidents.
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How to prevent your kid from starting fires?
Children playing with fire are always a concern, which causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. They may act out of natural curiosity, so it is essential to teach them that lighters and matches are tools, not toys. The carelessness of parents can be a leading cause of fire hazards set by very young children. Consider keeping the following precautions in mind to avoid any heart-breaking fire incident.
Keep candles, matches, lighters and other ignitable substances out of sight and out of reach of kids. Also, to avoid life-threatening consequences, try to use child-resistant lighters, which babies can't operate.
Instruct older children on proper techniques for using fire. Explain the repercussions of the improper use of matches and lighters.
It is safer to use flameless candles as you can leave them unsupervised. These candles contain a led bulb rather than an open flame, eliminating the risks of fire catching, dripping hot wax, harmful smoke, etc. Moreover, you don't need to worry about your child knocking over a candle.
At any cost, avoid giving responsibility for fire use to your children. On top of that, never let your children play with the burners on the stove.
Parents should never use lighters or matches for fun or as a source of entertainment for children. They may copy what you do.
Top tips for fire safety to teach your kids
Home fires are a significant risk to children, so precisely educate them on what they should do in the event of a fire. Keep your kids safe from fire with the following fire safety tips.
Install smoke alarms
A smoke detector alarm is a key to a home fire escape plan that automatically senses the presence of smoke and activates the alarm. Install smoke alarms on each level of the house, including bedrooms, living room, near the stairs, and outside the sleeping areas. Smoke alarms will indeed double your chances of escaping a fire in your home, but only if it is working. Teach your children about smoke alarms, how they work, what they sound like and what to do when they hear one. Moreover, you can enlist your kid's help in testing smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button and replacing the batteries twice a year or when the battery is low. Despite a smoke alarm's piercing sound, children can sleep through it. To prevent this, practise a home fire drill during the night when they are sleeping and allow them to master the fire escape plan so that they can evade even a late-night fire. Remember, the objective is to practice, not to frighten the kids, so let them know in advance about the fire drill at night.
Create and practice a home fire escape plan
It is great to plan and practise home fire drills with your children at least two times a year (during the day and at night). Having a fire drill at home will ensure that your children understand what to do if they are ever confronted with a fire inside the home. Try to make the fire escape drill as realistic as possible. Firstly, you should devise a plan along with a map of your house. Don't forget to mark all the possible exits and escape routes in the plan. Also, make sure to choose an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home, where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Train your kids on how to get low and crawl out of the house if there is a lot of smoke. It is crucial to learn two ways out of each room in your home because it is possible that one exit is blocked or dangerous to use. Train them to get outside the burning building quickly and safely within three minutes when the smoke alarm beeps and meets at the safety spot. Then, call the emergency number (make sure your kids know how to call) and stay out at the safe place until firefighters arrive.
Feel for a hot door
Teach children how to check if the doors are hot before exiting a room and, if so, how to find another way to escape. Fire safety for children involves having them practice by touching the back of one hand on the doorknob and at the crack of the door. If the door is hot or smoke is coming under it, do not open the door, as fire could be on the other side. Although the door is cool if heat and smoke come in when you open it, slam the door tightly. To confine the fire as much as possible, leave the door closed and use the second way out of the room. If all the exits of the room are blocked, train them how to seal themselves in safety as part of your home fire escape plan. Use clothing, duct tape or towels to seal the door's crack and cover air vents to keep smoke out. Tell them they should get as low as possible and instruct them not to hide under the bed or in the closet; try to lie on the ground near the bed so that firefighters can find them.
Use escape ladders
For houses with more than one floor, an emergency escape ladder is crucial. This is because you only have an average of two minutes to reach safety in the event of a fire. Sometimes using stairs may not be safe, but if you have an escape ladder near the bedroom windows, you will be able to use it to escape from the upper floors of a house safely and quickly. Teach your children how this additional escape route works and practice setting up the ladder with them to ensure they can do it correctly and promptly.
Practice opening windows
Instruct your older kids how to unlock the windows, and ensure the windows are not stuck closed. Also, check whether you can swiftly remove the screens, and you can easily open security bars from the inside. Security bars devoid of release devices can trap you in a devastating fire. So, don't forget to use quick-release window guards on barred windows to open them quickly in a fire emergency.
Unplug small appliances that aren't in use
Some appliances left plugged when they are not in use can cause electrical fires in your home. To prevent a fire hazard, make sure you switch off and unplug small appliances used to produce heat, including irons, hair styling tools, slow cookers, kettles and toasters when you are not using them.
Stop, drop, roll
Teach your children what to do in case of clothes catching fire. Let them know the simple technique of "stop, drop, (cover your face), roll". Show them how to do it and practice with them to ensure they understand the method very well. Heeding this advice can help children avoid or alleviate many of the injuries associated with fire.
Never return to a burning building
Strictly instruct your kids not to go back to the burning house to take anything -- toys, clothes or pets. Once the kids are out safely, they should go to the safe meeting place as they were practised in the home drill and stay there. If a family member or any prized possessions are trapped inside the burning building, they should inform the adults or firefighters instead of returning.
Fire accidents can start suddenly and spread quickly, but many are preventable by taking enough precautions. It's essential to consistently review fire safety with kids so you will all be prepared in case of a fire crisis. Practising home fire drills at least twice a year allows children to learn fire emergency procedures in a simulated but safe environment. Work on awakening to smoke alarms, low crawling and gathering outside at the designated place on your fire escape plan. Besides, if there are family members with mobility limitations or infants in your home, ensure that someone is assigned to help them in the event of an emergency. Always be prepared and take the necessary steps to lessen your home fire risk because there is no guarantee that a fire won't ever occur in your home.