Fire Safety at Home for Kids

Fire safety is essential to teach kids to ensure that they know what to do in the event of a fire emergency. Seconds can be precious if a fire occurs, so everyone in the family must know how to respond in this type of emergency. Although kids are young, they can learn the right responses to ensure that they get help and escape a dangerous situation safely.

Install working smoke detectors on each level of a home, outside of sleeping areas, and within each bedroom for optimal safety. It's common for children to sleep through the alarm of smoke detectors. The piercing alarm sounds that will rouse adults immediately will often fail to wake children from deep sleep. For this reason, parents should not assume that smoke detectors will wake their children in an emergency. Even if an alarm does wake a child, the child may be disoriented and confused, which could make it unlikely that the child will respond correctly to the alarm. It's possible to interconnect smoke detectors so if one detector sounds, they all sound. This would ensure that parents become involved immediately if any smoke detectors sound in the home.

Fire extinguishers are an integral part of fire safety. Having fire extinguishers in the home enables people to extinguish small fires before they spread and become larger. However, fire extinguishers have their limitations. In the event of a fire, evacuation should be the first priority to ensure that everyone remains safe. Then, as long as the fire is small and confined, it's appropriate to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Fire extinguishers contain different chemicals to fight different types of fires. Class A fire extinguishers will put out typical combustibles such as paper and wood. Class B fire extinguishers will put out flammable liquids. Class C fire extinguishers will put out electrical fires. Many home fire extinguishers are rated for all three classes, making them suitable for virtually any type of home fire emergency.

Fires in the home typically begin in the kitchen in connection with cooking mishaps. Home fires can also occur from electrical or appliance malfunctions or from fireplaces and other sources of home heating. A house fire can cause both burns and injuries from smoke inhalation. The smoke that occurs during a home fire can quickly incapacitate a person. As smoke fills a room, it can become impossible to see. Quickly, the available oxygen in a room disappears, leaving only toxic gases and particles left to breathe. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoke. To avoid serious burns if clothing catches on fire, the first response must be to stop, drop, and roll to extinguish the flames as quickly as possible.

Every family should devise and practice a home escape plan to ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire. Examine the entire layout of the house to note all potential exits, including both doors and windows. Make a map of the floor plan of a house and possible exits for children to help them visualize escape routes. Designate a spot outside of the house where everyone will meet after an evacuation. Discuss the escape plan with every member of the family to ensure that everyone understands it. Have periodic fire drills to give everyone a chance to practice escaping the house.

Teach children about the importance of escaping a fire instead of hiding from it. When frightened, many children will retreat to a hiding spot instead of trying to escape. Children may also hide from firefighters attempting to rescue them. Discuss pets with children also. While it's important for everyone to escape, people are more important than pets, so tell children that they cannot wait to escape while attempting to rescue a pet. No one should ever re-enter a burning house for any reason.

Learn more about fire safety for your family with these resources:

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