Fire Safety and Prevention Tips and Activities for Families
National Fire Prevention Week
October is National Fire Safety Month in the United States. This is a perfect time for families to go over their fire safety plans and practice. Here are some great tips and fun activities for families to review and do together.
Fire Safety Video
Fire Escape Plan for Families
Creating a fire escape plan for your family is critical. Businesses and schools have their fire escape routes posted throughout their buildings, but do you? It is just as, if not more important, for you to be sure that your family is prepared in the case of a fire. So how can you do that? Create a fire escape plan. Draw a simple layout of each level of your home. Then together, go to each room and talk about two escape routes for each room. It is important that children understand that there is more than one way to get out of a room. Once you have designated each escape route, mark it on your plan. Post a copy of your plan in a highly frequented area of your home, for example the bathroom. You will not likely have the time to study your plan during a fire but seeing it repeatedly over time will help your family to know what to do if there is an emergency. Here are some other important things to consider.
- Practice your plan. Set a time once a month that you will practice your escape route. You can even do a "surprise" drill by setting off your smoke detector and see how your family responds.
- Block an exit. Step up your drills and place a sign or pretend flames at one or two exits. This will force your family to remember what the alternate escape route was.
- Set a meeting place. There is no bigger worry for a parent or child than not being able to find each other in an emergency. Make sure that everyone knows where they are to meet if there is a fire. Be sure to actually go to that place together so that everyone knows the exact spot. This should be a place far from the danger of the fire.
Fire Safety Checklist
Change the batteries in your smoked detectors every six months.
Create a fire escape plan.
Have family fire drills.
Do not overload outlets with too many plugs.
Keep fabric away from burners, open flames, and outlets.
Have a fire extinguisher available in your kitchen.
Never leave an open flame unattended.
Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
Have your furnace inspected annually.
Be sure that there are smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom.
Fire Prevention Safety Tips
There are many ways that families can practice safety in regards to preventing fires. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that your family is practice fire safety.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Create a fire escape plan. Be sure that each family member is aware of your plan, including your meeting place, and alternate escape routes. Then take time to practice that plan.
- Test the fire alarms in your home. You want to be sure that your alarms are always in working order. Don't forget to change the batteries every six months.
Books About Fire Safety
Firestation PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Importance of Practicing Your Home Fire Drill
- Home Fire Drill Safety: Our First Fire Drill
Our boys' classmates' house caught on fire. We used it as a learning opportunity. We had neglected discussing at home fire safety. It encouraged us to have our first fire drill.
Fire Prevention for Kids
Fire trucks and firemen are such a great draw for children. They love the bright color of the firetruck and the amazing things that it can do. And they look up to those firefighters that help people who are in trouble. Capitalizing on this interest is a great way to help children understand the dangers of fires.
Since October is national fire prevention month, many fire stations have open houses during this time. It is a great opportunity for kids to check out the fire station and learn about what firefighters do. There are often lots of activities that the fire stations have at these open houses. You can tour the station, talk with a firefighter, meet Sparky the Fire Dog, climb in a fire truck, explore an ambulance, and even walk through a truck that is designed to teach about fire safety. We make this an annual event in my house and my kids always have a great time. Last year they even had a medivac helicopter fly in and they simulated what happens if someone needs to be flown to a hospital. Then the kids were able to climb in the helicopter.
So how can you prepare your child in the event of a fire in your home? Here are some great things to practice with your child.
- Stop, drop, and roll. Teach your children that if they or their clothing catches fire, to stop, drop to the ground and roll to put out the flames.
- Never play with matches or lighters. It's best to keep them away from kids altogether but children should know not to play with them if they do see them.
- Do not use the stove unless you are with an adult who is helping. I'm all for teaching my children independence and how to cook. However, this must always be done with supervision.
- Do not put anything into sockets except a plug. My children love to plug in a radio or their leapster games. They need to be shown that a plug is the only thing that is allowed to go in the socket and what may happen if something else is put in.
- Do not play with any open flames. Whether it is a candle burning or a fire in the fireplace, children must know not to touch or put anything in the flames.
- Never go back into a burning building. Pets, pictures and other things may be important but your life is much more valuable. Never go back into a burning building.
- Get out! Don't waste time looking for things you want to keep. It may mean losing your life.
- Never hide under a bed. If a firefighter has to help you get out, they will not be able to find you under a bed. Teach your children to get down to the ground where there is fresh air and crawl along the wall. Firefighters will be able to find you there.
Sparky the fire dog is a great mascot for kids. There is some wonderful additional information and activities on Sparky's website. From games to cartoons to tips, this is a great way to learn and practice fire safety for kids. Coloring sheets are also a great way to review fire safety information.