Did you know children below five are double as likely to be injured or die in a residential fire than adults? Despite this, there’s still no standard fire education program in Australia. That’s why schools, families and early learning centres must teach fire safety to children and really drill this in. Here are some tips to help keep children safe:
Ensure they know ‘000’
Children should be taught to memorise the emergency services number, ‘000’, and trained in how to speak to an operator. Many Australian children watch a lot of American TV and think our number is also ‘911’. They’re often surprised to learn that this is not the case in Australia.
Teach them the warning signs of fire
Children need to be shown how a fire alarm sounds, along with how smoke and flames look and smell, so they can recognise it, alert an adult and escape to safety immediately.
Teach ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’
It’s essential that a child is taught what to do if they find their clothes are on fire. They should be instructed to drop to the ground with their legs straight, to next cover their eyes and mouth, as they roll back and forth until the flames are extinguished. Always ensure a fire blanket is on hand so that a child can be wrapped in it if necessary
Teach ‘Get down low and go, go, go’
Did you know, smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in a house fire? Air closest the ground is cooler and cleaner, which is why it’s crucial that you instruct children to get down low and crawl to safety should they become stuck in a blaze.
Escape, and don’t return
One difficult (but very important) rule kids must learn is never to go back into a burning house, even if family or pets are inside. It’s crucial that they prioritise their own safety, and part of that means not running back to retrieve anything or anyone.
Enjoying fire-safe playtime
As heaters turn on, risks turn up. The start of winter comes with several fire safety risks, especially where children are involved. Toys are often made from flammable products, and often these come into close contact with household heaters. It’s crucial that you instruct children to keep their toys and clothes at least a metre away from heaters or any open flames.
Understanding the dangers
Items like matches or lighters are small and tend to be easy for kids to find. Not only should you attempt to keep these out of children’s reach, but you should also make sure children are aware of their dangers. Parents should set a good example, only using fire equipment in safe and productive ways in front of their children.
How to use fire equipment
Teenagers can also benefit from learning the basics of how to use fire equipment. With correct training, they can learn the PASS technique: the four essential steps of operating a fire extinguisher. All homes should be equipped with at minimum an ABE Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Practice, practice, practice
It’s one thing to teach your children important skills, but it’s another to continuously refresh and expand these. As a child gets older, they need to grow their fire safety skills, just as they learn new things in all other aspects of their lives. Constantly quizzing them, asking them questions and making sure the information remains in their mind will prove crucial in case of an emergency.
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