According to the Red Cross, children under five are twice as likely as other people to die in a home fire.
If you have children at home, at any age, it’s important to teach them about fire hazards.
Here are some tips and precautions to help parents ensure children know what to do in the event of a fire:
1. Home fires are often started by children playing with dangerous household items, particularly lighters and matches. Lighters and matches should never be used as a source of amusement for children. The T&T Fire Service says these should be stored out of the reach and sight of children, preferably in a high place.
2. Come up with an escape plan and practice at least twice a year and at different times of the day. The Red Cross recommends practicing waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Parents should reinforce “get out, stay out.” Family members should not reenter a burning house even if other relatives, pets or prized possessions are inside.
3. In practicing the plan, instruct children to check doors to see if they are hot, and how to find another way out. Have them find a towel to use for handling, touching or grabbing items to avoid burns and to also use the towel or cover to protect their faces and cover their mouths.
4. Let them know what to do if a room’s exits are blocked. In this event, children should get as low as possible. Lie on the ground, near the bed if possible as this where firefighters will look for them. Ensure that windows can be easily opened for a quick, safe escape.
5. Teach children that fire is dangerous and can seriously hurt them. The T&T Fire Service recommends that children be taught to tell an adult if they see matches and lighters lying around.
6. Teach children to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire. The majority of fire-related injuries can be avoided or minimised if this is done instead of running.
7. Keep a fire extinguisher in the home and teach children how to use it.
8. And, finally, dial 990 to call the T&T Fire Service, as soon as you identify a fire.
7 tips to help keep your little ones safe in the event of a fire
Darlisa Ghouralal, Loop TT News, Tuesday July 27, 2021