No one likes to think about a fire in their home, but if an unexpected fire occurs, it’s extremely important that you and your children know what to do.
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This guide will help prepare your family and give you some peace of mind.
Your first step: Create an escape plan based on your home's layout.
A fire safety plan may be scary for young children, so it's important to reassure them when planning a fire escape route. Explain a fire is unlikely, but if it happened, knowing what to do will keep your family safe.
What to include in the plan:
Names of each room: (kitchen, bathroom, girl’s bedroom, John’s room, etc.). A plan doesn’t have to
be exactly to scale, but it should help children identify which room is which.
Identify two ways out of every room, if possible: Then go over the plan with children ages 5 and older. For younger children, they may not understand a plan, so it’s suggested to walk around your home and show your children where the exits are and how they'll get out. Your secondary, or alternate, exit can be another door or window. Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire. So unblock your exits today!
Safe Meeting Place: A "Safe Meeting Place" is a designated location outside the home where your family will gather once outside the home. Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, electricity pole, boundary wall etc) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
Teach your kids to "get low and go:" Have children practice escaping from each room by crouching down very low and crawling along the perimeter of the room to an exit. Make sure your child understands that this technique is different from "stop, drop, and roll," which is what children should do if an item of clothing catches fire.
Have everyone memorise the 999 phone number: That way any member of the household can call from a mobile once outside.
Putting your plan to the test
- Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
- Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability or may have trouble getting out.
- It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up.
- Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
Fire safety tips
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Keep doors shut.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform emergency services when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
- Know basic fire safety: Teach children never to play with matches or lighters. Also, ensure adults never smoke in bed or go to bed with fireplaces still burning, and otherwise practice good fire safety tips.
Read more about our helpful home safety tips.