Fire Safety Tips for Families
We don’t want to think about emergency situations happening to our children and family, but the reality is that it’s important to not only think about them, but also to plan ahead for their eventuality. One such emergency situation is fires. With the recent fires throughout California, we know it is more important now than ever to be prepared for a fire.
There are safety measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of fire in your home. Follow cooking safety tips. Cooking is the number one cause of fires in homes. Never leave the stove or oven on unattended. If oil catches on fire, NEVER use water to put it out. Instead, cover the pot with a lid until the fire dies out. If you use space heaters, keep them a minimum of 3 feet away from all objects including furniture and drapes. Electrical fires are also a big culprit, so ensure all wires to appliances are in good working order. Keep matches and lighters well out of reach of kids. Finally, make sure all smoke alarms are working and change their batteries twice a year when you change the clocks.
Drawing up a floor plan of your house gives children a good visual aid. Mark all possible exit points for each room. Come up with at least two exit points for each room. If you live in an apartment building, make sure every family member knows the location of the closest fire escape exits in your building. If you have a baby or toddler, or a child with special needs who will need help escaping, designate one adult to be responsible for that child. This eliminates the possibility that both parents are rushing to find the same kid. Practice your escape plan with your whole family preferably once a month. Make a game out of it; use a stopwatch to see if you can beat your previous time each practice!
Fire safety basics
As with any emergency or natural disaster, it’s important to teach your child exactly what to do in the event that he or she is faced with the situation and you’re not there to help.
- Close all doors between you and the fire: this helps contain the fire and slow the spread of it.
- Stop, drop, and roll: remember this one from fire safety when you were a kid? This rule still applies and is a good way to help kids remember what to do in the event their clothes catch on fire. Stop, drop to the floor, and roll across the floor to extinguish fire on clothes.
- Cover your airways: teach your child that they should get a cloth, preferably wet, and cover their mouth and nose while evacuating.
- Crawl to escape: smoke always rises, so the place in the room with the most oxygen will be closest to the floor. Practice army crawling out of a room to minimize smoke inhalation while escaping a fire.
- Don’t stop: never stop to grab anything while evacuating from a fire.
Remember, your best protection against fire is prevention, so follow all safety rules strictly. Practice fire escape plans monthly, and don’t forget to prepare plans for other natural disasters or other emergency situations common to your area (tornados, earthquakes, etc).