The best time to teach children about fire safety was yesterday; the next best time is today. Like any other life skill, fire safety should be taught to children by their adult companions as soon as they can understand the basic concepts. A study has shown that children between 4 to 12 years of age can learn new ideas the fastest and are more likely to retain them.
By introducing fire safety to children, we avoid a reaction of fear and confusion from them in the unfortunate event that a fire breaks out. Statistically, children face a high risk of injury during a home fire and are among the age groups with the most fire-related deaths. Here are some simple, bite-sized lessons to promote fire safety for kids:
Some kids might be overexposed to American-produced television shows and online videos that they might think that ‘911’ is the number to call in case of an emergency. As soon as they’re old enough to be on the phone, let them memorise that ‘000’ is the correct number to call during emergencies.
Familiarise children with possible ways out of every room in the house. Whether it’s going to be through a window or a door, it’s best to prepare multiple escape options. This plan includes teaching kids how to open windows and unlock doors. Finally, allocate a designated meeting place outside your home, and highlight the importance of staying there until everyone present.
Let the children know what smoke detectors are for and where they are throughout the house. Test the alarms in the presence of the kids to familiarise them with the sound. Let them associate the sound with ‘get outside the house’ rather than ‘panic and freeze.’
More than half of fire-related casualties are from excessive smoke inhalation. By staying low during a fire, the chances of inhaling large amounts of smoke are mitigated. When lots of smoke is present, visibility may become diminished. It can be a good idea for everyone, not just children, to practice crawling out of the house in blindfolds. This activity can easily be turned into an exciting game for kids when a treat is waiting for them outside. Before they realise it, they’re more than capable of getting out of the house even with low visibility.
Perform fire drills regularly with your children to ingrain them into their muscle memories. Consistent practice will shake-off most of the panic and confusion if the real thing happens.
It’s Always Best to be Prepared
As the cliché goes, prepare for the worst but hope for the best. By making sure that everyone in your household, especially your children, is well-prepared in the instance of a fire, you can spend less time worrying about everyone’s safety.
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