Ministry of Education, Guyana

Fire Safety

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your kids? Take the time now to review fire safety facts and tips so your family will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency in your home.

Fire Prevention

Of course, the best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire doesn't break out in the first place. That means you should always be aware of potential hazards in your home.

Start by keeping these tips in mind:

Electrical Appliances, Cords, and Outlets

  • Are your electrical appliances in good condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs?
  • Are your outlets overloaded with plugs from the TV, computer, printer, video game system, and stereo?
  • Are you overusing an extension cord?
  • Look around your house for potential problems. And unless you're a trained electrician, be careful about do-it-yourself electrical projects.

Other tips:

  • Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.
  • Don't run electrical wires under rugs.
  • Make sure lamps and night-lights are not touching bedspreads, drapes, or other fabrics.

Careful in the Kitchen

The kitchen is rife with ways for a fire to start: food left unsupervised on a stove or in an oven or microwave; grease spills; a dish towel too close to the burner; a toaster or toaster oven flare-up; a coffee pot accidentally left on.

Always supervise kids while cooking and practice safe cooking habits — like turning all pot handles in so they can't be accidentally knocked over and not wearing loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire around the stove.

Beware of Cigarettes

Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches and chairs. If you smoke, be especially careful around upholstered furniture, never smoke in bed, and be sure cigarettes are completely out before you toss them into the trash.

Matches and Lighters

You've heard it again and again, but children playing with matches are still the leading cause of fire-related deaths and injuries for kids younger than 5. Always keep matches and lighters out of children's reach. Store flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene, and flammable cleaning supplies outside of your home and away from kids.

Using Candles Safely

As decorative candles become more popular, candle fires are on the rise. If you light candles, keep them out of reach of kids and pets, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you go to bed. Make sure candles are in sturdy holders made of non-flammable material that won't tip over. Don't let older kids and teens use candles unsupervised in their rooms.

Smoke Alarms

It's a fact — having a smoke alarm in the house cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half. Almost 60% of all fatal residential fires occur in homes that don't have smoke alarms, so this may be the single most important thing you can do to keep your family safe from fires.

If your home doesn't have smoke alarms, now is the time to install them on every level of your home.

Because smoke rises, smoke detectors should always be placed on ceilings or high on walls.

Fire Extinguishers

Be prepared for any accidents by having fire extinguishers strategically placed around your house — at least one on each floor and in the kitchen.

Keep them out of reach of children.

Teaching Kids the Facts About Fire

Unfortunately, many kids will try to hide from a fire, often in a closet, under a bed, or in a corner. But if taught basic fire facts, they'd be better able to protect themselves. Teach your kids that fires spread quickly, that most fire-related deaths are not from burns but from smoke inhalation, and that dangerous fumes can overcome a person in just a few minutes.

Kids should learn to:

  • cover their mouths and noses with a moist towel or an article of clothing to keep out dangerous fumes while evacuating
  • crawl under the smoke to safety, staying as low to the ground as possible (smoke always rises)
  • touch any door (not the doorknob) to see if it is hot, and if it is, not to open it — find another exit
  • never go back into a burning building once safely outside
  • stop, drop, and roll to extinguish flames if an article of clothing catches on fire

Practice Fire Drills at Home

Kids have fire drills at school and adults have them at work. Why shouldn't you have them at home, too? Fires are frightening and can cause panic. By rehearsing different scenarios, your family will be less likely to waste precious time trying to figure out what to do.

Discuss and rehearse the escape routes you've planned for each room of your home. Designate a meeting place outside your house or apartment building that is a safe distance away (a mailbox, a fence, or even a distinctive-looking tree will do) where everyone can be accounted for after they escape.

Then, every so often, test your plan. Use your finger to set off the smoke detector and let everyone know it's time for a fire drill. See if everyone can evacuate your home and gather outside within 3 minutes — the time it can take for an entire house to go up in flames.

Be sure any babysitters in your home know all escape routes and plans in case of a fire.

Being prepared is the best way to protect your family from a fire. So know the rules of fire prevention, stock your home with fire-safety items, and make sure your kids know what to do in a fire. A few minutes of planning now may save lives later on.

Source:http://teenshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/fire.html#

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