Teaching fire safety

  • Published
  • By Edwards AFB Fire Department
  • 412th Civil Engineering Group
Each year children are victims of serious injuries and death due to fire. As a parent, it's important to know that there are specific things that can be done to increase the level of fire safety in your home. It's also important to know that if you take fire safety seriously, you can drastically improve the chances that your family escapes a fire unharmed.

The following are items parents can cover with their children:

· Stop, drop, and roll. If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop to the ground or floor and roll around until the fire is out.

· Exit Drills in the Home. There's no time for planning during an emergency. Sit down with your family and develop a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire should one occur. Each occupant of your home should know at least two ways out. Draw your floor plan of your home and list all doors and windows from every room and discuss the escape routes with every member of the family. Most importantly, agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household can meet and wait for the fire department to arrive.  Remember, if there are flames and smoke present at the first exit, then the alternate egress must be used. If smoke is present, remind them to stay low and crawl along the floor, check each door by using the back of your hand for heat. If the door feels warm, use another escape route. If the door feels cool, open it with caution. Once you are out of your home, don't go back inside for any reason. 

More than half of all fatal fires happen at night while people are asleep. Smoke detectors alert occupants during the early stages of fire, so it is very important to make sure your smoke detector(s) are working at all times. This can be accomplished by testing them monthly to ensure they are in good working order. Last but not least, practice exit drills on a regular basis.

· Kitchen Fire Safety. Never leave cooking unattended. Teach your children about the hazards of cooking, not only from fire, but by hot scalding liquids. With smaller children, keep the cooking area safe by enforcing a "kid free" zone around your kitchen range. Always keep potholders, dishtowels, curtains and other combustibles away from the range. Turn pot handles in, this way children passing by or playing cannot grab or bump the handles. 

Smother a grease fire. If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the stove burner. Never use water on a grease fire and be careful to be at the proper distance when discharging a fire extinguisher at a pan of burning grease, it could also spread the fire. Never remove a pan from the stove once a fire has occurred, as this could cause severe burns. 

· Keep matches and lighters away from children. Children as young as two years old have started fires with matches and lighters. If you live with small children, treat matches and lighters as you would treat a dangerous weapon:  store them up high, out of children's reach and sight. Children have a natural curiosity about fire. If your children express curiosity about fire, or if you find they have been playing with matches or lighters, respond calmly, not punitively. Explain firmly to your child that matches and lighters are tools for adults to use carefully.  Find safe ways for your child to participate in your use of fire. Let them blow out candles, for example, and as children get older, they can learn how to use matches and lighters safely under adult supervision. 

· Portable heaters. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and turn them off when you leave home or go to sleep.  Keep portable/space heaters at least three feet from any and all combustibles. Ensure that the appliance you are purchasing is U/L listed and has a tip over switch installed.

· Fire reporting. Teach your children the important aspects of using the 911 telephone system. Stress to them that this number should only be used to report an emergency should one occur. 

When you call 911, be prepared to answer the dispatcher's questions, which may include:

o The location of the emergency, including the street address
o The phone number you are calling from
o The nature of the emergency
o Details about the emergency, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency

*Edwards Facility & Family Housing - 9-1-1

*Cellular Phone - 661-277 4540/4541 and state "This is an emergency" or dial 9-1-1 and state your location is on Edwards AFB.

Should a burn occur, run cool water over the burn for approximately 15 minutes, never apply ointments or other greases to any burn. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.  

With the help of parents teaching fire safety in and around the home, this can significantly reduce the number of injuries and deaths from fire.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Edwards AFB Fire Prevention Office at 661-277-3643, or your local fire department, for questions when residing off base.