The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto understand the crucial importance of teaching age-appropriate fire safety principles to children. Children need to know how to prevent fires and what to do if a fire starts in the home. Over 358,000 house fires occur each year. Every 87 seconds, or nearly one thousand times a day, a home experiences a fire. This experience can be very frightening for children, but with age-appropriate instruction, regular review, and frequent drills, they can be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. Children are already learning fire safety at school and in daycare. Fire safety in the home will not be a surprise to them and can save their lives.
Age-Appropriate Fire Prevention Tips
Children are responsible for nearly 20,000 house fires each year. Half of these fires are started by children under the age of six years old. These age-appropriate fire prevention tips can help keep children safe and avoid fire damage in the home.
Tip #1: Have conversations with children about the dangers of fire.
The goal is to instill a healthy respect for the power of fire to start a wildfire, damage a home, or cause serious injury.
Tip #2: Store matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children.
A locked cabinet is the safest place to store matches and lighters.
Tip #3: Only purchase and use child-resistant lighters.
Keep in mind that “child-resistant” does not mean “childproof.”
Tip #4: Never allow a child to play with matches or a lighter, even with adult supervision.
Fire is a tool and not a toy. Do not allow children to play with lighters that look like toys.
Tip #5: Instruct children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters.
Tip #6: Do not leave children unsupervised when fire, matches, or lighters are in use around the house or on a family outing.
Tip #7: Develop a fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
Age-Appropriate House Fire Survival Tips
The following fire safety survival tips are helpful for younger children:
Tip #1: Talk about fire safety technology.
Talk to children about the technology of smoke detectors. Explain the purpose of the installation of the devices installed around the home. Involve children in the annual activity of changing the batteries in the smoke detectors.
Tip #2: Teach two ways out.
Teach children to try the door first and then the window. When the smoke detectors function properly, there should be ample time to escape through a door or window.
Rooms without windows can create fire entrapment situations. Establish a designated meeting place such as the end of the driveway, the mailbox, or a landscape feature in the front or back yard. A child’s normal reaction is to hide when they are frightened. Help them overcome their fear by teaching them to say or sing out loud, “Don’t hide, go outside.” Emphasize that once the child is outside the burning home, they should stay out.
Tip #3: Practice opening windows and removing screens.
Make sure the windows open smoothly, especially in the bedrooms. Screens need to be kept in working order, as well. Let children know it is acceptable to damage screens in order to escape through the window.
Tip #4: Utilize escape ladders for high windows and second-story escapes.
The use of escape ladders is unavoidable in homes with high windows or multiple stories. Ladders should be placed near second-floor bedroom windows. Drills involving the use of the ladders may frighten children. Have siblings work together and encourage each other during the ladder practice. Practice on a first-floor window exit to familiarize younger children with using a ladder. Instruct children to only practice this drill under parental supervision.
Tip #5: Feel first, then open the door.
Teach children to first feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm to the touch, the children should know that they need to try the window or other alternate escape route.
Tip #6: Emphasize stop, drop, and roll.
Reinforce what children are learning from their teachers in school and at daycare about what to do if clothing catches on fire. Help children practice this technique so that they are prepared to stop, drop, and roll.
Tip #7: Practice makes perfect.
Fire drills are a part of school activities. Make instruction times, practice sessions, and fire drills a normal part of life at home. Drilling instills discipline. Training and discipline can overcome the paralysis of fear.
In the event of a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7/365 to help homeowners and businesses quickly begin the fire damage restoration process. Crews can arrive at the client’s home within an hour with the right equipment, the latest technology, and advanced cleaning techniques. The SERVPRO team can manage the entire restoration project, including handling the insurance claims process.