Toddlers Unlimited

Manila's Premiere Preschool & Toddler Center

Fire Fighting

on July 24, 2013

We recently had our first Fire Drill for the Schoolyear, and were able to evacuate in less than 7 minutes. While we made it out in good time, I could not help but wonder how else we can help our students and their families be more aware about Fire Safety.

Looking through the US Fire Administration Web Site, I found out some startling info, which was that children ages 0-14 make up 15% of all fire deaths in the US. In a report of Fire Incidences by the Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection there were 7,210 cases of fire recorded for the year 2012, with 195 fatalities, although it does not state how many were children.  In the US report, however, it claimed that 54% of all child fire deaths occur to those under age 5, since these children are usually unable to escape from a fire independently.

What should our goals as parents and teachers be in terms of fire safety?

First: PREVENTION

We do this by talking to children about fire. Reminding them not to play with matches, lighters, candles, and other heat sources. Telling them to stay away from electrical outlets and avoid the kitchen when an adult is not around.

Tell them how dangerous fire can be. Children are curious by nature, so take the mystery out of fire by lighting a candle, having them blow it out and letting them know that the flame spreads quickly, and is hot, smoky, and dangerous.

f drill

Second: PREPARATION

Fire drills aren’t only to be done in schools. Do one at home every so often. (At least once a year, but twice is better)

Your child should know how to get out and find a safe place in case of a fire. Agree on a meeting place where all family members will converge in case of a fire.

Familiarize your children with the sound of the school fire alarm or your home’s smoke alarm. Once they hear that sound, they should know to get out.

Ask children to give you the lighters or matches whenever they see them lying around. One website reminds parents to check under beds and in closets for burned matches, which may be evidence that your child has been experimenting with fire.

Read books about Fire Safety. In school we have No Dragons for Tea by Jean E. Pendziwol, which is a delightful tale about a little girl who invites a dragon for tea at home. When he sneezes and causes a fire, the little girl isn’t worried, since she knows just what to do.

Third: FIRE REMINDERS

Things your children should know:

If you see a fire or smell smoke, go tell a grown up.

Cover your mouth and nose with a moist towel or article of clothing to protect you from dangerous fumes while evacuating.

Crawl under the smoke. Stay as close to the ground as possible (smoke rises).

Touch the door (NOT THE DOORKNOB) to see if it’s hot. If it’s hot, DO NOT OPEN IT – find another exit.

If you are in a building or mall, find the nearest stairway marked “FIRE EXIT”. Avoid elevators during fires.

Don’t stop to get things or pets or make calls while evacuating.

Go to the firefighter. (There have been reported cases where children get scared of the Firefighter in full gear and even hide when they see them). Teach children that firefighters, even if they look scary in masks and hats are there to help them.

Never go back into a burning building or house once you get outside.

If an article catches fire: STOP, DROP and ROLL. Running will only make it worse.

 

The best thing we can do for our children when it comes to Fire Safety is make them aware. Even toddlers will benefit from being warned about fire. We cannot predict when fires will happen, but educating our children on what to do, may save their lives.

 By: Barbara Server

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