Keeping your child safe from fire

By admin
09 September 2014

Home fires can start and spread quickly. Protect your family by teaching these fire-safety tips to your kids.

A 14-year-old boy from Cape Town was recently killed in a fire after attempting to recreate a science experiment at home. Would your kids know what to do if a fire started in your home? Take the time to teach them more about fire safety so they’ll be prepared in the event of an emergency!

How to talk to your kids about fire

Always talk to your children in a calm, assured manner about fire safety and consider visiting a fire station if they’re interested in firefighting. Also create opportunities for learning about fire safety at home. For example, when you cook, let your child get the pot holder for you or when you use the fireplace, allow your child to bring you the wood or tools.

Fire-safety tips for your kids

It's important to talk through with children what to do if there's a fire – they need to know how to react, as there may not be an adult around to tell them what to do if there’s a fire. Here are the basic instructions to give your children:

  • If they see smoke or flames, they should tell someone straight away – a grown-up if possible – and get out of the building as soon as possible.

  • They should never play with matches, lighters or lighted candles. Or play close to a fire or heater.

  • They shouldn’t pull on electric cables or fiddle with electrical appliances or sockets.

  • They should find a phone and call for help straight away. Let them memorise the Fire and Rescue Service’s number or tell them to go ask the neighbours for help. Also make sure they know their home address.

How to make your home safe

Here are some measures you can take in your home to make sure your children stay safe:

  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm in your home and familiarise your kids with the sound of your smoke alarm and what to do when they hear it.

  • Don't leave children on their own in a room where there's a fire risk.

  • Put a child-proof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater.

  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking and never let them play near the stove.

  • Make sure electrical appliances are switched off when they’re not being used.

  • Keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secure location out of the reach of children, and only use lighters with child-resistant features.

  • Practise your home fire-escape plan with your children several times a year. Also practise “stop, drop and roll” and low crawling.

  • Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your child knocking over a candle.

-Janine Nel


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