The following safety tips will help you maintain a safe home environment for children:
- House fires are frightening no matter how old you are, but children are often victims because they don't understand what to do. Instead of heading immediately outside, they often hide in closets or underneath beds, and they can be as afraid of firefighters in full gear as they are of the fire itself.
- To hold children's interest when talking about fire safety, enlist them as part of your fire-safety patrol. Let them help search for fire hazards in your home. Also ask them to tell you right away if they see any fire hazards in your home, a caregiver's home, or a grandparent's home.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach. Children are intrigued by fire, so teach them that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys.
- Never let children light candles on cakes, and supervise children until the candles are extinguished.
- Rearrange heavy objects so doors and windows aren't blocked.
- Establish a three-foot safety zone around the stove or other heating appliances. Do not allow children and pets to play in this area.
- Formulate a fire escape plan. Let children hear the smoke detector, and explain what it means. Remind them never to borrow batteries from a smoke detector.
- Demonstrate to children how to crawl low to stay under any smoke. Instruct them how to pull their shirt over their nose and mouth if necessary.
- Teach children to stop, drop, and roll. Make certain children understand that they can't re-enter the house to retrieve pets or keepsakes. If pets are inside notify the firefighters. Designate an outdoor meeting place where everyone will gather once they have escaped a fire. Once outside stay outside.
- Arrange a visit to the fire station so your children can see firefighters in full gear. Teach children that firefighters' jobs are to save children.
For additional information please contact the Maplewood Fire Department at 646-3666.