Young children must be watched closely. Leaving them unsupervised, especially if there are objects like candles or matches within their reach, could result in a serious injury or death.
- Prevent Access to Fire-starting Material: matches, lighters, candles, etc. should be kept away from children. Do not assume a young child cannot operate a lighter or match.
- Emergency Fire Plan: Make sure everyone in the home, including the children, knows exactly what to do in case of a fire. Unprepared children will most likely attempt to hide from the fire. Everyone should know all exits from the house and agree on a designated meeting location outside of the home.
- Working Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors should be placed in several locations throughout the house, on every level, and by each sleeping area. The detectors should be tested once a month to ensure they are working.
- Teach: Teach children to never re-enter a burning structure even for a toy or pet. Take children to your local fire station for a tour. Children will be able to see a firefighter in full firefighting gear and learn that firefighters save people from fire.
- Practice: Practice fire drills at home. Show children how to crawl low on the floor, beneath the smoke, to get out of the house. Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire
- Remove the Mystery: Take the mystery and mystique out of fire by teaching children about its nature. Explain that it is hot, moves quickly and is deadly.
- Investigate: Look for evidence that a child may be playing with fire by checking for burnt matches under their bed or in the closet.
- Use of Heaters: Many home heating fires involve portable heaters and space heaters. All home heating systems, including fireplaces, can be dangerous if not used and maintained properly. The Kansas State Fire Marshal recommends: having all heating systems, including fireplaces, inspected and cleaned prior to every heating season, keeping all heating systems away from flammable items (at least 3 ft), and using portable space heaters sparingly and never leaving them turned on while unattended or sleeping.
For More Information:
Kansas Fire Marshal: Prevention Division