Fire Safety Starts at Home
If you’re like most parents, you are devoted to safety and do your best to keep your child out of harm’s way at home. Regardless how vigilant you are, consider this scenario:
You have just returned home from running errands, and it’s past dinner time. You put a pot of water on the stove to boil for mac n’ cheese, and one of your kids needs your help in the bathroom. Your other child is sitting in the living room watching television.
In just a few minutes, he could leave the living room, and curious about the pot on the stove, either burn himself with the scalding water, burn himself on the flame of the burner, or start a small fire in the kitchen.
It’s terrifying to think that you and your child’s life could change in just a few minutes. Fortunately, most accidents involving a fire are preventable and you can start discussing fire safety right away.
Some Quick Facts
Fires claim about seven lives, on average, every day in the U.S., and heating equipment (including cooking) is the second leading cause of household fires; smoking is the primary cause.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, over 300 children under the age of 19 are treated in the ER for burn-related injuries, and two children sustain a fatal burn-related injury.
While burns are a common childhood injury, you can prevent them whether you are a parent or even a grandparent of grandchildren who visit often.
Fire Safety for Busy Families
Even if you rarely spend time at home because you’re too busy running errands or taking kids to and from extracurricular activities, a fire in the home is still possible. At the very least, you should have smoke detectors (which you test every year) and a fire extinguisher or two in your home.
Some rooms in your home may be more of a fire risk than you think. An easy way to find out how to keep you and your family safer and lower your risk of fire is using an online risk checker tool that gives you a virtual tour of a home and points out some high-risk areas.
Tips for Practicing Fire Safety as a Family
Even if your child has learned a few things about fire safety from a teacher at school or daycare setting, never assume that he or she knows how to be safe around fire.
Here are some easy tips to make part of your everyday fire safety plan:
- Keep the water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less;
- Never leave food unattended on the stove. Set pots and pans as far away as possible (on the cooking range) and consider safety locks for your oven and stove top;
- Create a family fire escape plan. Discuss this plan often and encourage your children to be responsible and brave (rather than fearing a home fire);
Discuss your fire safety plan and practices with any visitors, particularly people who are caring for your children such as a grandparent or babysitter.