Do your kids know what to do in the event of a house fire? Family fire safety is something that should be addressed with your children to ensure that if the worst was to happen, everyone can quickly get to safety. So what are some of the things that should be discussed?
An Evacuation Plan
A family fire evacuation plan should be determined.
- Draw a plan of your home, with all exits marked. These exits should include the windows. Your children should know of all the available exit points if they should ever need to evacuate your home.
- If your children's bedrooms are on the second floor, they should be instructed to make their way to a particular section of the roof (after exiting via a window) before waiting for assistance. Older children might be able to safely make their own way down to ground level.
- A meeting point needs to be decided upon. This could be by your letterbox, or it could be in front of a neighbour's home.
During a Fire
Your children should also be taught what to do if they are caught in a fire and need to use certain safety procedures before they can safely evacuate.
- If the room is filled with smoke, your children should know that they need to get down and crawl to safety. Smoke rises to the top of a room, so the air is generally clearer at floor level. You could make a game of this and practise crawling from their bed to the door or window.
- Door handles need to be treated with caution, as they can become dangerously hot when there's a fire on the other side. Teach your children that they should protect their hand with a blanket, a towel, or a piece of clothing before touching a door handle.
- You should also practise the stop, drop and roll technique for extinguishing a blaze should their clothing catch on fire.
Extinguishing a Fire
While children need to know that they need to flee in the event of a major fire, children of a sufficient age should be taught how to use a fire extinguisher in the event of a small spot fire. This should be learned when the child is actually of a size where they can access and use the extinguisher. The technique is known as the PASS method.
P: Pull the safety pin on the fire extinguisher to "arm" it.
A: Aim low (at the base of the fire).
S: Squeeze the handle to activate the extinguisher.
S: Sweep from side to side to evenly disperse the contents of the extinguisher.
A family fire safety plan is something that you will hope you will never have to use. But if the worst was to happen, you would be very glad that your children know what to do.