We spent more than 86 hours putting this resource together on fire safety for kids. We truly hope you enjoy it and that you consider sharing it with those that may find it useful too. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive article on the topic on the internet. Scroll down below the table of content if you want to see the infographic we made with facts, prevention methods and more when it comes to handling fire.
On this page:
- What is Fire Safety?
- The Importance of Teaching Kids
- Fire Safety Tips For Kids
- Tips For Preschoolers
- When Should You Practicing?
- Activities For Kids
- Disaster Plan
- Special Fire Escape Plan Tips For Children
- Drill Safety Rules
- Equipment For Your Home
- Hazards in the Home
- Rules For Kids
- Tips For The Home
- How To Prevent House Fires
- For Pets
- videos For Kids
- Fire Prevention Week
- Fire Protection Equipment
- Prevention Training
- How to Prepare For a Fire
- What To Do In Case Of Fire At Home
- Fire Department Open House Ideas
What is Fire Safety?Fire safety is everything that you do in order to reduce any injury or damage from fire. It is all the things you do to prevent fire and those things that limit the extent of damage caused by it. It begins with measures to prevent fire put in during the construction of a building, but also include the active measures you take to ensure you are safe from fires in your everyday life.
The Importance of Teaching KidsFire safety is important to teach to kids. All homes have the potential for having a fire at some point, and your children rely on you to teach them how to respond. Your children don't know instinctively how to get out of a home that is on fire. It is up to you to teach them the things they need to know in the event a fire happens. It isn't just about your own home, it is important they know what to do no matter where they are. Teaching children may possibly save their lives some day. Children are at far greater risk for death in a fire. A home fire can turn deadly in as little as 2 minutes. This means that children don't have time to learn how to be safe once a fire breaks out. It is something that you have to teach kids before a fire. We all remember the old commercials teaching us to "stop, drop, and roll". Teaching your kids is something that you have to make time for, they won't learn it on their own. It doesn't take much effort to teach kids the basics.
FactsIt is a wide-ranging topic. Fire is a constant danger for homes, businesses, and even our local green spaces. There are so many different things to think about that it can be overwhelming. To start with you should know some facts.
FactsYou are far more likely to die in a fire at night. 20% of all fires are reported during the hours of 11 p.m and 7 a.m. while almost half of all deaths occur during the same period of the day. A quarter of the deaths that are caused by fire begin in a bedroom. A mix of factors are present in your bedroom for this to happen. Due to smoke and toxic fumes, people can die in their beds while they are asleep before flames even reach them. Over half of the deaths that occur from home fires are in homes where there is no smoke detector present. Every day an average of 7 people die in the United States from home fires. Many fires are caused by smoking-related items, cigarettes or lighters. Fatal fires normally kill one or two people, fires that kill more than three people are rare. Men are almost twice as likely to die in a fire as women are. This is likely due to the mistaken belief that a man should dive back into a fire to save valuables or pets. Men also are statistically more likely to try to fight a fire rather than do the right thing and wait for help. The national fire death rate is 10.7 people per million. 49.5 per million people are injured by fire each year. People over 85 have the highest rate of death by fire at 44.5%. More people die from smoke inhalation than flames. Fire uses up oxygen within a space and replaces it with toxic fumes than can quickly overwhelm people. Around 4,000 people die in fire-related deaths each year. About 18,000 people are injured every year in fires. Fire is actually a chemical reaction that releases light and heat. Earth is the only known planet with enough oxygen in the atmosphere for open flames. The amount of available oxygen causes different color flames. Low oxygen flames are yellowish, high oxygen flames burn with a blue light. Candle flames are blue at the bottom because that's where they have the most oxygen. Even a candle flame burns hot, a candle flame is typically 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Mankind has been using fire to cook for around 1 million years.
StatisticsElectric stoves are involved in more home fires than gas stoves.
- According to FEMA, the causes of house fires are:
- Electrical malfunction.............................6.3%
- Unintentional, careless...........................5.8%
- Open flame...........................................4.4%
- Other heat............................................3.2%
- Cause under investigation......................1.2%
- Other equipment..................................1.2%
- Equipment malfunction.........................0.9%
- Playing with heat source.......................0.4%
WildfiresWildfires are an important part of the lifecycle of green areas. Controlled fires actually lower the chances of a wildfire starting. 90% of all wildfires are caused by human action. This includes arson and carelessness. Wildfires are mainly spread by the wind, giving them a fast growth rate. A wildfire spreads at a speed of around 14 miles per hour. On average, over 1 million acres of woodlands are consumed in fires each year. Wildfires are capable of creating incredible fire tornados. These fire tornados can be as tall as 1000 feet and rotate at 90 miles per hour. Most animals are able to escape a wildfire, with the larger animals more capable of escaping the area. Around 10 firefighters each year give their lives fighting wildfires. Wildfires can produce winds that are up to 120mph, these are hurricane force winds capable of toppling trees and destroying homes.
Fire Safety Tips For KidsKids often find fire interesting, but a good idea is to make rules. Make the rule that your child is not allowed to use lighters or matches without the presence of an adult. Teach children not to be afraid of firefighters or police, and not to hide. Keep lighters and matches up out of the reach of children. Practice your escape plan often and help your kids get it right. Set the fire alarm off so your children know what the sound is so they are less scared of the noise. Take your kids to a firehouse so they can meet and see firefighters in person to help them be less afraid. Firefighters in full gear can scare kids who have never seen this type of gear before. Have a "safe zone" that your kids know not to enter around things that are fire hazards. This should include your stove, indoor space heaters, wood stoves, and outdoor grills.
Tips For PreschoolersTeach children at an early age never to grab on to electrical cords. Electrical heat sources can be pulled off from safe heights by children pulling on the cords. Make sure your children know your full names. Not just "Mommy" and "Daddy". If your children are separated from you during a fire this will help emergency personnel get them back to you faster. For older kids put the emergency number on the fridge. Even put 9-1-1 on the fridge, don't expect them to remember it when they are in a crisis.
When Should You Practicing?It should be practiced all the time. Keeping your family safe is a constant effort and should be something that you include in your daily activities. Avoid making it something you only think about on special occasions.
Activities For KidsChildren learn best when you can turn learning into a game or activity. Activities for kids make learning how to stay safe into a fun experience. Take advantage of the natural desire of kids to play and turn it into something that can help them stay safe for the rest of their lives. These are the best resources we have been able to gather from many different sites, all here in one place to make it easy for you to get good ideas.
- Lessons and Crafts
- Which Fire Do We Fight?
- Fire Fighter Coloring Pages
- Week and Free Printable Booklet
- Firefighter Online Jigsaw Puzzles
- Fireman Party Hats
- Fire Fighter Coloring Pages
- Songs and Books
- Ladybug, Ladybug Nursery Rhyme
- Clifford the Big Red Dog Magazine: Fire-Safety Puppies
- Clifford Reproducible Games: Stop, Drop, and Roll
- Keeping Safe (911)
- Safety and Prevention
Disaster PlanOnly one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. The sad truth is that most Americans who have an escape plan have never practiced it. A fire escape plan has to be practiced so that people know what to do in a panic situation. Practicing your fire disaster plan also lets you see what parts of it just are not working so the plan can be updated. Try having people use both escape routes from each room to be sure that everyone can use them and know how they work.
TipsAlways have an escape plan that includes at least two exits out of every room. Essential items, such as glasses, must be kept nearby at all times, especially when sleeping. Fire extinguishers should be easily available, and everyone needs to know how to use fire extinguishers properly. Everyone must be taught to stop, drop, and roll, if their clothes catch fire. Know the way out by feel, often in fires, you won't be able to see. Practice your escape plan blindfolded. Don't try to rescue pets yourself, tell firefighters and let them search for your pet. Choose a prominent meeting spot in case you have to get out of your home. Practice getting to it from all escape routes. Do not waste time gathering valuables or getting dressed. Never use an elevator in your escape plan, always use the stairs.
Special Fire Escape Plan Tips For ChildrenChildren need to know the appropriate actions in case they hear the fire alarm. Consider whether children are old enough to get out by themselves or if they need assistance. If you have a babysitter, it is very important that this person knows how to prevent fires and has studied the fire escape plan. Be sure your children have fire escape plans at all the places they frequent.
Escape Plan ProceduresIf a fire alarm goes off, an adult should investigate to see if it was due to a fire or an accident. Never ignore the alarm, even if you know someone is cooking. If a fire is there and is not able to be put out immediately then begin the escape plan. Family members assigned to assist a child, elderly family member, or anyone who requires assistance should go to them immediately. When trying to exit the home crawl or keep low to the ground to avoid smoke and other fumes. This is a good practice even if you don't see visible smoke. Feel doorknobs before opening doors, and open them carefully. A hot doorknob means an active fire. Opening a door can cause an oxygen deprived fire to burst into flames. Always be prepared to close a door immediately if it causes a fire to burn hotter. If a door is hot to the touch do not open the door, use the secondary exit for that room. If you are unable to escape a room, close the door. This can get you up to 20 minutes of safety in an emergency situation. Put a blanket or another piece of cloth at the bottom and around the door frame to slow smoke coming into the room. If there is an exterior window hang something out of it to attract attention. Never drop from any window that is higher than the second floor of a building.Hang from the sill before dropping out of the window to reduce your fall distance. If there is no exterior window make sure to shout for help when you hear firefighters or other rescuers. If you must break a window as part of your escape plan, clear as many glass shards as possible before exiting through the window. Place something over the bottom of the sill if possible. Once clear of the fire, remain outside the building and go immediately to the location designated as the gathering point. Look at windows to see if anyone is trapped inside, and be prepared to give rescue personnel an accurate count of people in the home and last known locations.
Making a fire escape plan with the kids as a gameA good game to play with kids is to make a fire escape plan. This is an easy and engaging way to make sure that your children have understood how they should go about exiting the house. Kids love games, so by turning this into a game, you will help them stay safe and prepared. This is also a great activity for preschoolers and kids in school. Here is how to go about the task.
- Start out with a blank piece of paper.
- On the blank sheet of paper, get your children to draw your house clearly marking all windows and doors
- Go into all rooms and find two exits.
- Make sure that all windows and doors can be easily opened by everyone in the house
- Your house should have several smoke alarms, place one of them in the kitchen, as fires often start here. Make sure that the alarms can be heard anywhere in the house and that they’ll wake up everyone if they’re asleep.
- Find a good spot for meeting outside. If there’s ever a fire, this is where everyone will meet.
- Make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in case the alarm goes off.
- Memorize the phone number of your local fire department
- Practice the drill.
Drill Safety RulesAppoint a monitor for the drill. This is who will sound the alarm and watch what everyone does. They also are responsible for stopping anyone who is doing anything unsafe during the drill. If you are using smoke or setting off your actual alarm make sure to notify the fire department and monitoring agency if your alarms are monitored. Even in a drill, make sure to do a head count in case someone was injured out of sight. Remind everyone before the drill that it is not a game and roughhousing and playing during the drill are not allowed, this is how people get hurt. Inspect all the exits and make sure there are no hazards before you begin a fire disaster drill . Check for broken windows, sharp edges on metal and anything that could cause an injury. If anyone in your home has special needs, make sure to take these into account when you practice your drill.
Equipment For Your HomeYour home requires you to have up to date and working equipment to be safe. Basic equipment is normally two different types, alarms, and extinguishers. Smoke detectors are placed throughout your home to give an alarm in case of fire or smoke. Extinguishers are for putting out fires and should be placed strategically through the home and be of the appropriate type for the area. Ensure your home is prepared by making sure you have the right type, and number, of these two critical safety features.
Smoke DetectorTest alarms monthly and change the batteries at least every year. Be sure you have enough alarms so you'll hear them no matter where in the house you are and that you will be woken up if they start sounding. You should have smoke detectors on every floor and in every single bedroom. Smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a fire by almost half. The failure of most smoke detectors is due to dead batteries, followed closely by the batteries being removed. There are two types of alarms, ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are usually better for flame, and photoelectric for the smoke. To be fully protected have both types in a home.
ExtinguishersUse a fire extinguisher for small fires that are in a small area. An extinguisher should only be used when everyone has been evacuated and the fire department has been called. For homes, the best extinguisher is one that is multi-purpose, it should also be small enough to be easily grabbed and used. Your extinguisher should have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Read the instructions! The operator has to know how a fire extinguisher works, during a fire is not the time to brush up on how it works. Don't think you are a firefighter, if the fire is not controlled with the use of the extinguisher exit the building. Never forget that smoke is just as much of a killer as flames. If you can't see or have trouble breathing then you shouldn't try to put the fire out. KNOW if the type of extinguisher is appropriate for the type of fire. Some models are not useful for oil or electrical fires.
- Class A: Ordinary materials such as wood, paper, cloth, most plastics.
- Class B: Flammable liquids including, gasoline, oil, grease, tar, lacquer.
- Class C: Energized circuitry including active wiring, fuse boxes, machinery, and appliances.
- NEVER use water on oil fires!
CandlesBlow out candles before falling asleep, around 11% of fires caused by candles are because the owner has fallen asleep. Keep flammable materials away from candles. Over half of all fires were started by flammable materials being too close to lit candles.
PreparednessA smoke alarm must be placed on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas in hallways. Test and check equipment each month. Be sure to talk about fire safety with your family often. Never stay and fight a fire unless it is small, contained, you can breathe, and the exits are clear.
Hazards in the HomeWe've gathered a list of the most common fire hazards in your home.
- Wiring: Electrical fires cause more than 50,000 home fires a year. Use care when driving nails or screws as you can catch wires that can later cause fires.
- Kitchen Clutter: Flammable materials like towels and paper plates should never be closer than 3 feet to your stove.
- Clothes Dryer: Your clothes dryer creates lint, which is highly flammable. Never overload your dryer, and have it professionally cleaned every two years.
- Sawdust: If you are a woodworker, clean up your sawdust. Sawdust can catch fire quickly.
- Old outlets: If your outlets are old and worn, replace them. Old outlets can catch fire.
- Vintage Appliances: Older appliances were made before safety regulations came into place. This means you need to be careful that they don't get excessively hot or spark and cause a fire.
- Worn electrical cords: Your old worn extension cord and any jury-rigged appliance cords are capable of starting fires. Dispose of old cords, and properly repair any appliance cords that become damaged.
- Power Strips: Use caution with power strips. Just because it has 8 outlets doesn't mean you can plug 8 refrigerators into one power strip. Remember the total load you are putting into the outlet and power strip.
- Appliances: Inspect appliances regularly for malfunctions, this is one of the major sources of fires in the home.
- Unattended candles: Just don't, this is an open flame waiting to burn your home down.
- Uncleaned Chimneys: Wood fireplaces have creosote build up over time. These can cause home fires if not professionally cleaned.
- Wood Fireplaces: Ashes from wood fireplaces need to be handled properly. Even the smallest remaining ember could cause a fire if disposed of while still warm.
- Cigarettes/Smoking Materials: Cigarettes and other smoking materials are a major fire hazard, never leave them unattended.
- Toaster Crumbs: A large build up of crumbs in the bottom of your toaster can catch fire during use.
- Deep Fryers: Malfunctioning deep fryers can become too hot and the oil burst into flame. Never leave a deep fryer unattended during use.
- Electric Blankets: Electric blankets should have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) seal. Never fold an electric blanket to avoid damaging the internal wiring. Wash them in accordance with the instructions.
- Falling with open flame: If you are carrying an open flame in your home that should be the only thing you are carrying. Falling while carrying a candle is an easy way to start a fire.
- Loose clothing while cooking: Loose sleeves and shirts can drop into flames. Avoid wearing these types of clothing while cooking.
- Curtains: Check to be sure your curtains aren't close to open flames such as candles, heat sources such as space heaters, and any other ignition source.
- Space Heaters: Space heaters should never be closer than 3 feet to flammable materials.
- Flammable liquids: Store gasoline, turpentine, and other cleaning chemicals in air tight containers.
- Clean up Rags: Rags that you use to clean up should be stored in airtight containers to avoid chemical interactions that can start a fire.
- Aerosol Cans near Flame: Avoid spraying any type of aerosol near open flames. Room air fresheners can burst into flame if it comes into contact with an open flame such as candles or stoves.
- Holiday Decorations: Live Christmas trees can become fire hazards if they are not watered and disposed of at the proper time. Older Christmas lights generate a lot of heat and need to be used carefully. Don't leave Christmas lights on when you are not home, or when you are sleeping.
For ToddlersFire safety for babies and toddlers is almost completely up to an adult. Babies and toddlers are rarely able to save themselves in the case of a fire. A tip for infants and toddlers is to make sure there is a designated person who will help them out safely in case of a fire. Also, when you're cooking over a stove, don't carry a baby.
Rules For KidsWhen thinking about rules for kids you can group them into three different categories. Preschoolers need much simpler rules than your teenage children need. Teaching kids safety rules that are appropriate for their age groups helps them remember the rules, and follow them. You know your children better than anyone else, and your opinion will always determine how best to teach your kids to be safe.
For PreschoolersFire safety for preschoolers begins with addressing that children have an interest in fire. They need to be taught that fire is dangerous. Items that can cause fires need to be shown to preschoolers and they must be taught to avoid touching or playing with them. Don't deliver a long explanation but stick to a simple lesson on not to touch these things. Preschool is also when to begin teaching children not to be afraid of police and firemen. In an emergency situation, firefighters and police can be scary to small children and they often react by hiding.
For KindergartenersA very important tip for little children is to make sure to teach them never to play with matches or lighter. Usually, this is the age when a fire is really starting to seem interesting, and children must be taught that fire is dangerous. Small children and preschoolers also need to be taught how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm and should be introduced to fire safety when they're old enough to understand what is being taught.
For TeensWhen the time comes around, teach older kids not to use candles in their bedrooms unless it is being supervised by an adult. Teens are old enough to fully understand all rules and to help out any younger children in the home. Older children are also useful when you are planning fire escape plans in helping with younger children.
Tips For The HomeNo home is ever without risk. As a homeowner, your job is to identify and mitigate these risks. When you take the time to learn and find out what could go wrong, you set yourself up to protect your home from fire. A checklist is included below, and you should regularly look over your home to be sure it is safe.
- Check your smoke alarm on the first of each month.
- Replace the batteries in your alarms when the clocks change for daylight savings time.
- Review your escape plan every spring, the plan will change as children grow up and parents get older.
- Make sure everyone with a cell phone has the local emergency number programmed in, as well as knows how to call 911. Make sure emergency information is also put into the phone as well with important names and numbers of other family members.
- Keep exits clear and free of clutter and doorways clear enough to exit through easily.
- Make sure door locks open easily, locks that stick may prevent you from being able to get out in an emergency.
- Every fall, check space heaters in your home for safety. Inspect electrical cords and "tip over" shut off features to ensure they are in working order.
- Every spring double check gas cans and any other containers with flammable liquids in them to verify that they can't spill.
- When you go to put Christmas lights up, check all of your outlets. Avoid plugging multiple cords into the same socket.
- If you don't have children, before any party at your home take a walk through your home looking for hazards. When moving things to be out of the reach of children, over-estimate their reach.
- Before lighting your fireplace for the first time, inspect the screens. Screens should be able to protect your home from sparks and embers. If you have small children your screens need to be the kind that will not fall over if pulled on.