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How do you teach a child or toddler about the very real danger of fire in the home without worrying them and making them too scared to get up each morning? We hear dreadful stories of children being caught in fires, and yet with some simple drills we could protect against the worst. Here are some simple tips you can do with your child which could, ultimately save their lives! Of course, firstly and most importantly your home should be fully protected against fire and have all the equipment required to deal with a fire: extinguishers, fire blankets, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors etc.
- Explain that you are going to talk about what to do if you ever have a fire at home. Explain that offices, schools, nurseries all have fire drills to practice what they all should do if a fire happens. Make it seem normal (and, after all, it is!) that people are drilled in how to behave in a fire.
- Draw a plan of your house and look at it with your child. Make an escape plan - how you can get out of the house if it was burning?
- Go into each room and find 2 escape routes. Ask how they would get out if one route was blocked.
- Sleep with bedroom doors closed and explain this is to contain a fire should one happen. It is safer, but make sure you can still hear them if they call in the night. Use a monitor if you are nervous of not hearing them.
- Explain that if there was ever a fire, they should not open the door if they see flames or smoke coming from under the door. If they see nothing but hear the alarm, they should open the door slightly, and feel the door handle with the back of their hand. If the handle was hot they should shut the door and keep it shut and leave by another door if there is one.
- Explain how to feel the door from bottom to higher up, to see if the door is hot. If it is hot, it needs to be shut and kept shut and they should leave by the other door if there is one.
- Checking for smoke is another valuable thing to note. Smoke hurts more people than flames. You breathe less smoke if you are low to the ground as smoke naturally rises. So, if there is smoke they should stay low and crawl out to the escape route.
- Show children how to block the cracks around the door with sheets or blankets.
- Parents should concentrate on evacuating the family rather than calling the emergency services - someone else can call them.
- NEVER go back inside to get pets, belongings, or anything at all! Choose a place where all the family can reconvene outside if there ever was a fire. Make sure you all know where this is.
- If clothing catches fire, drop to the ground and roll over and over. This is an easy one to practice with children.
For a very comprehensive blog on fire prevention entitled "20 Free Online Tools To Help Your Family Develop A Fire Safety Plan" go to http://www.firesciencedegree.com/20-free-online-tools-to-help-your-family-develop-a-fire-safety-plan/.