As a parent, your number one priority will be protecting your child from harm. Whether this means teaching them to look before they cross the road, to always wear a helmet when riding a bike, or to never talk to strangers, there is a list of things each parent will endeavour to impart to their children.
Fire safety is another crucial subject to teach your children and, with fire being one of the most common causes of accidental injury and death among children, it is one which must be taken seriously and taught comprehensively.
So read our advice on how to teach your children about fire safety and make your home and your children’s lives as safe from the threat of fire as possible…
Talking to your child about fire
You should talk to your children honestly about fire and the dangers surrounding it. Explain clearly what they should and shouldn’t do and, once they are slightly older, you can also discuss the dangers in more detail. Children have a habit of forgetting things as soon as they are told them, so make sure general fire safety is a fairly regular conversation and something which is continually touched upon in day-to-day life.
The main things you should talk about with your children are:
Never play with matches, lighters or candles
If they find matches or lighters they should always inform an adult
Never play near a fire or heater
Do not leave blankets, toys or clothes around, or on top of, a fire or heater
Never play with sockets, cables or electrical appliances
Do not touch the oven, switch it on or place anything on top of it
Do not touch the hob or any saucepans upon it
Teaching them what to do in a fire
It is vital that your children are aware of what to do in the event of a fire. You may not always be with them – or able to get to them – should a fire occur, so they should know how to act.
You should teach your children these basic emergency instructions:
If they see smoke or flames, they should tell an adult as quickly as possible
Make their way out of the building as quickly and calmly as they can
Never go back into the property
Never hide – just get out of the house and get help
Find a phone (this may mean going to a neighbour’s home), call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service
Make sure your children know their address
Educating them on fire safety signs
Fire safety signs are a constant presence in our lives – whether at work, at school, in a shopping centre or when you’re out for dinner. It is therefore important that your child is aware of the different signs and what they each mean. You can even turn this into a game, testing them on various fire safety signs as you walk around commercial premises.
Preparing an evacuation plan
It is important that every home has a comprehensive evacuation plan (see more https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-safety-and-evacuation-plans). According to fire safety specialists, this means planning various routes out of your home and making sure all exit ways are clear. You should regularly practice evacuation plans with your children – just as you would with a fire drill at work – and encourage them to take it seriously and act as safely and efficiently as possible.
Making your home as safe as possible
One of the best ways children learn is by example, which means talking about fire frequently and always acting safely yourself. Therefore, making your home as safe as possible – and doing so in front of your children – is a great way for them to learn how important fire safety is. Regularly testing fire alarms, maintaining your fire extinguishers, keeping exits clear and separating all possible flammable materials from sources of ignition are all ideal ways to get your child to act safely too.