Fire safety in the home – teach your children prevention is officer Charlie’s advice

Teach children about fire safety – that is the vital message from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Children and young people need to know exactly what to do if fire breaks out in their home, said Community Fire Safety officer Charlie Cartwright.

They must also know how to take sensible precautions to prevent a blaze, he said.

“There’s nothing more important than the safety of a child in the home. Get into the habit of taking a quick glance around a room for hazards to make safety an automatic reflex and for peace of mind.

“Talk to your children about the importance of fire safety and make sure they know what to do if the worst happens.

“Fit a smoke alarm and involve children in testing it regularly to make them more “fire aware.”
Most importantly a smoke alarm gives you vital seconds you need to escape in an accidental house fire.” he said.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging families and child carers to “Take a Second Look for Safety” as part of Child Safety Week 2011 run by Child Accident Prevention Trust from June 20 to 26. Visit for more information.

Community fire safety officers will be outside Smyths toy store at Telford Retail Park on June 20 and at Toys R Us, Meole Brace, Shrewsbury on June 22 from 10am to 4pm.

Preventable accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UK but a few moments extra thought can make all the difference.

Check candles and matches are out of reach and ensure escape routes are clear in case of a fire.

“An extra check takes just seconds but can save lives,” said Charlie.

Shropshire firefighters’ top tips for a safer home include:

  • Don’t let your child play with fire – keep candles, lighters and matches well out of children’s reach and never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Keep safe in the kitchen – make sure children know that 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.
  • Socket safety – teach children not to poke anything, including fingers, into sockets.
    Nominate your child to be the “Escape Champ” – regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
  • 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.
  • Discuss how to call 999 – make sure children know which number to call in an emergency. They should also know their address. You can pin both up by the phone; explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
  • Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – a working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire. You should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly.
  • 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 or a neighbour’s phone 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.

Article written by Ben Bentley and published by the Shropshire Star.

22nd June, 2011