18-24 June is Child Safety Week and the Fire Kills campaign is urging parents and carers to teach their children what to do if a fire breaks out in the home. There are already some useful articles on the site about fire safety in the home and childproofing your home which you may find helpful if you have young children.
It is a sad fact that around 1200 children under the age of 11 are injured and 35 children die in fires in UK homes every year. Many of these injuries and fatalities could be avoided if parents take a few simple steps to ensure that their children are safe in the event of a fire.
Installing a smoke alarm in the home ensures that your family are provided with an early warning of a fire and enough time to escape. Teaching your children the quickest and safest escape route can also help make sure they stay alive. If you have very young children (under the age of five) it is important to teach them to alert an adult if they discover a fire and not just to hide.
If your children are a bit older (six and above) then make sure you plan and regularly practice an escape route. Show children where the keys are kept and always ensure they are stored in a place everyone in the home has easy access to.
You will also need to explain what to do if they can’t get out – show them the best room to take refuge in (e.g. a room with a window and flat roof outside it). Discussing how to call 999 is very important – make sure your children know the number by heart as well as their address.
If there is a fire, everyone should follow these four simple steps:
1. Alert everyone – make sure everyone in the house knows about the fire. If there’s a lot of smoke crawl along the floor where the air will be clearer.
2. Get everyone out – don’t investigate the fire
3. Call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service – use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box.
4. Stay out! – if someone needs to be rescued wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it. Don’t go back in.
For more information on how to protect you and your child from fire, visit www.firekills.gov.uk. There is also a kids area online with games to show children how to stay safe from fire at kids.direct.gov.uk.
Fire and rescue services across England offer free Home Fire Risk Checks, they will visit your home and advise on the best escape route to take, check your home for fire hazards and where appropriate install a smoke alarm.
To book a visit online or for the telephone number to contact your local fire and rescue service look at www.fire.gov.uk. The phone number is also in the telephone book (NOT 999).
Please also visit www.capt.org.uk.