As with any lesson that you will teach your children, reinforcement of those lessons is vital to long term learning and memory retention. Most school systems will take the time to teach kids about fire safety. It is common for children to be spoken to at an assembly by a fire firefighter and even to take a fieldtrip to the local firehouse. However, it is not the responsibility of the school system to teach your children about the dangers of fire. It is the responsibility of the parent not only to make sure that their children are educated on this important subject but to ensure that their fire safety education does not end once they have graduated from grade school. Teens are also in dire need of fire safety training and reminders as they will be increasingly involved in more risky and potentially hazardous activities. The simple task of cooking entails trusting your older kids with the knowledge that they have about fire prevention and ensuring that they know how to be safe.
Methods of teaching your children the dangers of fire to help enforce fire safety will vary depending on their age and on the specific risks that exist within the walls of your home. Just one example of residential fire education differences is that those who live in apartment complexes are likely to have a completely different fire escape plan than those who are living in single family homes.
Role play is a powerful tool for all ages (even though it is likely that your older children may not be as enthusiastic when it comes to participating). Create fire safety related scenarios for your children to act out. Among the scenarios that should be practiced are the steps that you should take to extinguish a fire on an article of clothing that you are wearing. Teach children to stop, drop, and roll and practice this technique.
Have the children cover their face as they roll to protect themselves from any smoke or debris that may harm them. You could also create mock situations where there is a fire hazard and ask your children to try to not only find the hazardous situation but describe what should be done to fix the problem.
Regular fire drills are a must in the process of teaching your children the dangers of fire to help enforce fire safety. As a family, you should create a detailed plan of escape should your home catch fire. This plan of escape should include two exits per bedroom and instructions regarding how to determine if the door is safe to exit through. A child should be taught to feel the door and not to exit through it if it feels hot. Also, they should know that it is best to crawl down close the floor if there is smoke in the room. Not only will it be easier to see lower to the ground because smoke rises, but you will be less likely to succumb to the devastating effects that smoke inhalation can have on you. Children who have bedrooms on the upper levels of a house need to have escape ladders so that they too can get to safety even if they have to climb out of their window. A safe gathering spot should be designated and located at a safe distance from the home. Once everyone has been accounted for, use a neighbor’s phone to call 911 for help. As was mentioned before, every home is different and therefore every family will face unique challenges when it comes to creating a family fire escape plan. But that just goes to again emphasize the importance of taking the time to create a plan.
Family reminders about the dangers of fire and fire safety are naturally a part of reinforcing all of the wonderful things that you will teach your children. Although it will require patience and effort, it will be well worth your time to train your children well when it comes to fire safety.