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Fire Safety Tips

Most parents and caregivers are aware of the serious risks posed by fire and burns. Unfortunately, too many children learn the lesson hard way about the devastating risks associated with fire and burns. Research shared by Safe Kids USA indicates that in 2008, nearly 366 children under the age of 14 died because of burn or fire injuries. In 2009, the total number of children who were younger than age 14 who sustained non-fatal or burn injures was 90,000.

The most common reason for a burn related hospitalization for a young child was a scald. A contact burn is much common with older children. Firework injuries are also all too common because children and parents do not realize the risks posed by these products. Fireworks should never be lit or used near younger children. These products can attract the interest of younger children because of their brightness and warmth. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 have the most common firework injuries and those children between the ages of 10 and 14 have the second highest rate. Personal fire safety depends on a broad range of different issues, all of which must be considered by parents and caregivers. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Changing batteries and installing smoke detectors
  • Completing proper maintenance on chimneys, furnaces, fireplaces and wood stoves
  • Never leaving a candle, grill or stove unattended
  • Using fire safe cigarettes and smoking outdoors
  • Safely storing lighters, matches and gasoline
  • Practicing and developing a fire evacuation plan

Some community efforts are designed to decrease the number of fire and burn related injuries such as fire alarm safety checks, fire alarm giveaways and regulations associated with child resistant safety lighters, fire safe cigarettes and smoke alarms at homes. Having smoke alarms in the home and checking that the batteries are updated regularly is a great way to prevent scalds, burns and fires. A working smoke alarm in the home can reduce your chance of dying in a home fire by as much as half.

Out of all fire related deaths, home fires make up approximately 85%. Given that fires can spread quickly throughout a home, there can be as few as 2 minutes to safely escape once the alarm goes off. The leading cause of residential fires is home cooking equipment. It is important to always be aware of the potential risks associated with any home equipment.

Watching these materials closely and keeping an eye on recalls of dangerous products is vital for preventing injuries. One of the ways that legislators and community leaders have tried to reduce the number of injuries associated with fire has been through education. Having an escape plan in your home is one way to be prepared in the event a fire happens. Any young child who is not capable of getting out of the home by themselves must be included in the fire safety plan. When you conduct a plan with your family, talk about who will help each child get out safely. In your home make sure that you identify two ways you can escape from every single room. This is important in case one exit is dangerous to use or blocked. Having a meeting place established outside of the home can indicate where your family members should all gather when a smoke alarm is heard and there is no adult around. It is a good idea to walk through your fire escape plan by having children go outside to the meeting place.

Remember that it is important to give explicit instructions to children and inform them that they should never return to a building that is already on fire. Keeping children three feet away from anything that can get hot, keeping smoking materials in a high location where children cannot reach and never playing with matches or lighters with your children can help to increase awareness of fire safety.

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