Take action to prevent fires and keep your children safe
Keep your children safe by taking some simple steps to prevent accidental fires – that’s the message being promoted by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) during Child Safety Week.
As part of the Fire Kills campaign, families and child carers in the county are being asked to think about the fire risks in their home as part of Child Safety Week, run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust from 3 to 9 June.
Here are GFRS’s top tips for a safer home:
- Keep safe in the kitchen – Make sure children know that the kitchen is not a play area. Don’t leave them alone in the kitchen when you're cooking or let them play near the oven and hob.
- Nominate your child to be the ‘escape champ’ – Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep routes clear.
- Get ‘key clever’ – Encourage children to check that keys are kept in an accessible place so you can get out quickly in the event of a fire.
- Discuss how to call 999 – Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency and their address. Explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
- Fit and test smoke alarms regularly – A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire.
- Don’t remove the batteries – If your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don’t remove the batteries - just move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
- In the event of a fire ‘Get out, Stay out, Call 999!’ – Don’t delay for valuables or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999.
Prevention and safety education for all ages is also offered by GFRS through its SkillZONE facility in Gloucester. It is an interactive, life-size indoor village with home, community, road and cyber zones. Visit https://skillzone.glosfire.gov.uk for information about booking a group session for schools and community groups.
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s important to act on the information given by our fire crews during Child Safety Week. Families can take simple steps to prevent deaths and serious injury from accidental fires in the home - testing smoke alarms, putting matches and candles out of reach and keeping escape routes clear all take a few moments. It could make a difference and keep your children safe.”
Mark Astle, assistant chief fire officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like family or the phone ringing. Whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.
“You should also talk to your children about the importance of fire safety and make sure they know what to do if the worst happens. Fitting smoke alarms and involving the children in testing it regularly can also help keep them fire-aware and provide the vital seconds you need to escape in a fire.”