Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging parents and guardians to talk to their children about fire safety this Child Safety Week, 21st – 27th June.
"Already this year we’ve had house fires caused by children playing with matches and lighters because they have not been educated about the dangers."
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss
Child Safety Week is organised annually by Child Accident Prevention Trust - a national charity committed to reducing the number of children and young people who are killed, disabled or seriously injured as a result of accidents. As house fires are one of the biggest killers of children in the home, promoting fire safety is an important aspect of the charity’s work.
The aim is to alert parents, children and young people – and all those who work with them – to the main causes of serious childhood accidents and how to stop them happening.
Reducing fire risk to children is an ongoing task for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said: "It’s important that parents and guardians talk to their children about fire safety and set a good example to help them stay safer together.
"Already this year we’ve had house fires caused by children playing with matches and lighters because they have not been educated about the dangers. We have also had issues with older children who are deliberating setting fire to grass and bins. Fire can be very fascinating to watch, but children of all ages often don’t realise the consequences of their actions."
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s top tips for a safer home are:
• Set clear kitchen rules for young kids such as: never play with matches, never switch on the cooker, never put anything on top of the cooker and don’t touch any saucepans on the cooker.
• Make sure young children know the kitchen is not a play area - never leave younger children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking and never let them play near the oven and hob.
• Get ‘key clever’ – encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place. Keys for windows and doors should always be kept in an accessible place so you can get out quickly in the event of a fire.
• Nominate your child to be the ‘Escape champ’ – Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
• Discuss how to call 999 – Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency. Also ensure that they know their address and that both are pinned up by the phone; explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
• Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended.
• Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – you should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly. Smoke alarms should be positioned close to kitchens but not in kitchens.
• Don’t remove the batteries – if your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don’t remove the batteries. Instead move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
• In the event of a fire ‘Get out, Stay out, Call 999!’ – Don’t delay for valuables, don’t investigate or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999. If someone needs to be rescued wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it. Never go back in.