After the harrowing & distressing fire at Grenfell Tower in London this week I thought it might be helpful to ‘Talk & Teach’ your children about how to prevent a fire, and what to do if they suddenly find themselves surrounded by one. This will reassure your children as they will know what to do so they can feel more relaxed.
As in my advice around terrorism, talk & listen to your children’s concerns so you can reassure them, turn off the 24/7 news loop and perhaps catch up on the News when your children are in bed.
Talk through what your children should do in the unfortunate case that you have a fire in your home. Practice their escape route and speak in a confident, matter of fact, reassuring tone saying that by just knowing what to do will help them feel safer. Answer their questions honestly & empower them with a simple strategy about what to do.
This video is American so talk about calling 999 instead – but I had trouble finding a good UK video – any better suggestions?
3.Ask your parents to install smoke detectors on every floor and in the sleeping areas of your home. Smoke detectors can save lives. Ask your parents to show you where each one is located.
4. Remind your parents to test your smoke detectors every month. Make sure everyone in your family is familiar with its piercing sound. Teach them that this sound means danger, and they must escape quickly.
5.When your parents change the time on your clocks for Summer or Winter time ask them to change your smoke alarm batteries. Give it new batteries and your smoke alarm will stay awake and watch for fire while you are sleeping.
6. In case of fire: DON’T HIDE, GO OUTSIDE! Fires are scary, but you should NEVER hide in cupboards or under beds when there is a fire. To escape during a fire; Fall & Crawl. It is easier to breath in a fire if you stay low while getting out. Use the back of your hand to test if a door is hot before you open it. If it is hot, try to use another way out.
7.If your clothes are on fire; Stop, Drop, and Roll until the fire is out. Shout for help, but don’t run. Running makes fire burn faster.
8.Have an escape plan and practice it with your family. Find two ways out of every room in case one way is blocked by fire or smoke. Practice escaping by both routes to be sure windows are not stuck and screens can be taken out quickly.
9.Choose a meeting place outside, such as a big tree or the end of the drive, so you will know that everyone has got out safely. NEVER go back into a burning building for any reason – not even to get your pets. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They have the clothing and equipment to safely rescue people.
10.Put stickers and magnets with emergency numbers on your fridge. If there is a fire at your house, get someone to call the fire brigade on their mobile.
Advice for parents of young children from The London Fire Brigade
We offer a range of services and information aimed at young children, including the games and education section of this website.
Take the -> Escape planning quiz with your kids
Measures to keep your children safe
- Don’t leave children on their own in a room where there is a fire risk
- Never let them play near the oven and hob
- Keep matches, lighters, candles and tea lights out of reach of children or in a locked cupboard
- Put a childproof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater
- Don’t let children play or leave toys near a fire or heater
- Keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can’t be knocked over when they are being used or stored
- Keep your fire escape route clear of toys and other obstructions
Teach your children what to do if there is a fire
- If you see smoke or fire, raise the alarm and tell a grown up immediately
- Get out of the building as soon as possible. Go to the house next door if you can and ask them to call 999
- If there is smoke in the room, crawl low along the floor
- Never hide in a cupboard or under the bed. Do all you can to raise the alarm and get out
- If the way out is blocked, go into a room with a window and put blankets or towels at the bottom of the door to stop smoke getting in. If there is a phone in the room, dial 999, otherwise open the window and shout for help
- Don’t go back into the building, not even for pets