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Fire Safety for Kids! Be Ready for the Unexpected

Posted: September 17, 2019

Every 24 seconds, teams of first responders dash to the scene of a structure fire in the US. Of those fires, 72 percent occur in a family home and cause an estimated $23 billion in property damage annually. While property can be replaced, your family cannot.

Do your children know what to do if a fire breaks out in your home? This is fire safety for kids!

In this article you’ll learn:

  1. How do I teach my child about fire safety?
  2. What are the fire safety rules
  3. Escape Route Planning
  4. How to move through your home safely
  5. Stop, Drop and Roll
  6. Practice makes perfect
  7. How to fireproof your home
  8. Fire Safety Coloring Pages

How do I teach my child about fire safety?

More than half of fire-related injuries happen to children under the age of four, so communicating fire safety to children of any age is incredibly important.

While you don’t want to scare your child, talking one-on-one several times a year about what to do in emergencies will help prepare them for the unexpected. 

“It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about fire safety,” said Indianapolis Police Chief Ernest Malone. “As young as age four they begin to understand the importance of what’s hot, what’s not and at age 6, stop, drop and roll, knowing two ways out and the rule to never hide under a bed or closet. 


“I encourage all parents to talk about fire safety with their children and keep talking.  Family evacuation planning is not a one-time thing that you practice once a year. Take time to review your plan as each season approaches. Talk about the potential hazards that may accompany a change of season. Firefighters practice their skills, and so should you.”

It's never too early to start teaching your kids about fire safety.


What are the fire safety rules?

Did you know that you may have as little as two minutes to escape your home if a fire breaks out? Early warning signals from a smoke alarm and a practiced fire escape plan can save lives!

The Fire Safety Rules from the American Red Cross:

  1. Install a smoke alarm on every level and in every sleeping area of your home
  2. Test smoke alarms every month (this is a great time to talk to your kids about fire safety!)
  3. Talk with all family members about your fire escape plan and practice twice a year
  4. If a fire occurs, get out, stay out and call 911. Make sure your children know that it’s never okay to go back into a burning home

Now that you know the fire safety basics, let’s build your plan.



Create Your Fire Escape Route with Your Kids

Mapping out your fire escape plan with your kids is a great way to keep them engaged and interested in learning about fire safety.

  1. Start by drawing your home on a piece of paper
  2. Walk through the rooms with your family and determine the best exit points
  3. Parents... make sure to assign responsibility of who looks after which kid (this makes sure everyone gets out as quickly and safely as possible)
  4. Establish a meeting place that is far enough away from the home that all members can wait for help safely
  5. Mark your route of escape on the blueprint and keep visible in the home
  6. Practice, practice, practice!

Second Story Safety – have an escape ladder placed near your second-floor windows. Children should practice using them so that there's no hesitation if a fire does break out.

Now that you have your escape plan mapped out and practiced, it’s important to know how to move safely through your home and spot potential signs of danger.

Moving through your home safely

In case of an actual fire, make sure your kids know how to identify important warning signs and move safely towards the exits.

Fall and Crawl, Smoke and heat rise, so by staying on your hands and knees and crawling through your home, you can get more air to the lungs and buy yourself and your family more time for escape.

In the event of lost power or low visibility, your children should practice exiting the home in similar conditions. Make it a game by blindfolding your child and task them with feeling their way to a designated area. Add obstacles to make it fun and engaging while also teaching your child important safety skills.

Feel for danger, test doorknobs before opening doors. If the knob is hot, move on to a different exit. This is a sign that that room is not safe and to check for other options.

Block the smoke, if you find yourself trapped in a room with no exit, put a towel or piece of clothing at the cracks of the door to ensure the smoke doesn’t flow into the room and wait for help.

CALL 911, once you’ve made your way to the safe place, call 911 as soon as possible to alert your local first responders.

Stop, Drop and Roll

If your child’s clothes catch on fire, it can spread incredibly quickly. Synthetic fabrics may even melt and stick to the skin. The best way to reduce injury from the flames is to extinguish immediately.

To put out a fire that has caught on a piece of clothing, make sure your kids know how to stop, drop and roll.

  1. Stop: Don’t run or flail. That motion will help fan the flames. Just come to a complete stop.
  2. Drop: Get to the ground and cover the face with your hands. Straighten your body so that you're touching as much of the ground as possible.
  3. Roll: Smother the flames by barrel rolling back and forth until the fire is extinguished.

Make learning about fire safety fun by practicing some common fire scenarios at home!


Fire Escape Plan

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been following us from the beginning of the article, you have a pretty good idea of how to construct your families fire safety plan, but the most important part of any plan is practice.

Be sure to review:

  1. Your Escape Plan
  2. Tips for how to move through the house safely
  3. Stop, drop and roll

Ensure your kids know what to do in case of an emergency by going over your safety plan each season. Keep them engaged by mixing serious information with games that help them know their fire safety plan like they know their ABCs.

Now that you’re a fire safety pro, here are a few ways to help fireproof your home.

Preventing a House Fire

The best way to keep your family safe from a potential fire is doing what you can to make sure one does not break out in the first place. Here are some things for you and your family to be on the watch for you in your home.

  • Electrical equipment - According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires cause about 51,000 fires in homes annually. Even an iPad or cellphone could be the culprit of a devastating fire. Frayed or faulty cords can spark in seconds as well as multiple power strips being used at max capacity. Make sure your devices and wiring working correctly to prevent sparking
  • Kitchen Stove & Equipment - smoke alarms are especially important to have near the kitchen, as cooking oils and other ingredients can easily start a fire. Avoid placing a smoke alarm above or around the stove because cooking smoke or steam may trigger a false alarm. Make sure to closely monitor everything that you’re cooking, and never leave an open flame or hot stove unattended.
  • Candles – This one may seem a bit obvious, but it’s always easy to forget when you’ve left one lit in your home. Approximately 37 percent of fires started by a candle began in bedrooms, as it’s easy to fall asleep with a candle still burning. Be sure to make sure you’ve blown out all of the candles before you leave the home or fall asleep at night and keep them away from flammable object like tissue boxes
  • Heating Mechanisms – The curling iron, space heater, clothes iron, these are all things we use daily that can be easy to forget while we’re running out the door. Keep these objects away from coming into contact flammable materials like curtains, clothes and others for an extended period of time.

Fire Safety Coloring Pages

Want some coloring page to help explain fire safety to your preschoolers? Click the images below to download these interactive fire safety activities.

Fire Safety Download 1 .      Fire Safety Download 2