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Educating Children about Fire Dangers
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Fires are one of the most common disasters faced by property owners across the country. More than 3,500 people die in fires annually and another 18,000 are seriously injured. In fact, the leading cause of death for children in residential buildings is fire, usually the result of playing with a heat source such as lighters, matches, or space heaters. Children under the age of 10 make up 93% of all fire-related deaths and 38% of injuries in cases where the cause of the fire was attributed to "playing with a heat source".
Parents are encouraged to begin educating their children at an early age on the dangers of playing with or around fire. Doing so is designed to discourage hazardous behavior in the future. Some of the statistics involved are frightening.
Child-Related Fire Statistics
Children, particularly those under the age of five, are very curious about fire. It is pleasing to the eye, gives off heat, and has an interesting effect on any item that is thrown into it. Unfortunately, it is their tendency to explore that quite often gets them in serious trouble. Children under the age of 14 account for up to 15% of all fire-related deaths, and 52% of child fire deaths involve those under 5, due no doubt to the fact that many of these children are unable to move away from a fire independently.
In the home, children typically play with fire in their rooms, closets, under beds. Not only are there many flammable objects in these places, but the fire may not be discovered until the room is engulfed in flames.
Children should have fire safety instruction drilled into them early on. Young children should be supervised, and any child caught playing with matches or other dangerous materials should be watched even more closely. Instruct children to tell you when they find lighters or matches and don't be afraid to snoop for such materials in your child's room. Remember, they will almost always indulge in this behavior when they know you aren't looking.
Have a fire escape plan for your family and include the children in the process. Practice the drill regularly. They should know the drill and be able to execute their part in it.
Make sure children know that fire can injure and kill. This cannot be repeated often enough. Children may not have the greatest judgment, but they do have a self preservation instinct.
Children should know how to dial 911, describe what's going on, and be able to give your home address. For the worst case scenario, instruct children on the procedure known as "stop, drop, and roll". It may be the one thing that saves their lives. Also, set off smoke or fire alarms on a regular basis, just so your children become familiar with the sound of it.
Providing the proper information and education may be just what it takes to protect your kids from the dangers of fire in the home.
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