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This week’s tragedy at Grenfell Tower block in London has made me look at my own home regarding fire safety. I’m embarrassed to say that I still haven’t replaced our fire alarm downstairs after it last needed a battery change. When I think of those poor parents who had to make a decision as to whether they risk staying in their smoke filled flats or throw their children out the window in the hope that someone will catch and save them, it is simply unbearable.
Did you know?
• 1,200 children under the age of 11 are injured and 35 are killed in fires in the home in the UK every year.
• Fires account for nearly half of all accidental child deaths.
• 6,000 fires a year are caused by children under the age of 10.
Those statistics are more than alarming. It really shows how important it is to raise awareness with your entire family on how to stay safe.
How to Reduce the Risk to Children
Matches, lighters and candles
- Remember to keep things that can cause fires out of children’s reach.
- Position lighted candles and tea lights out of reach of children.
Electrics and heaters
- Teach children not to poke anything, including fingers, into sockets.
- Consider getting plug guards to cover sockets.
- Make sure electrical appliances (TVs and computers) in children’s bedrooms are switched off at night.
- Fit a childproof guard in front of open fires or heaters – the best ones can be fixed to the wall.
- Make sure children don’t play near fires or heaters to avoid them getting burnt.
- As kitchens can be dangerous places for children, avoid leaving them unsupervised.
- Avoid using the front of the hob when small children are around.
- Make sure that saucepan handles don’t stick out to avoid them being knocked off.
Share these safety messages with your children so they know what to do in the event of a fire.
• If you see smoke or flames tell a grown-up straight away.
• Get out of the building as quickly as you can if there is a fire.
• Don’t go back for anything, even toys or pets.
• Find a phone. (You might need to go to the neighbours to find one.)
• Call 999. Ask for Fire and Rescue Service and tell them your address. (You might want to practice making this call with children and will need to make sure they know their address.)
• Only call 999 in a real emergency.
• Never hide if there is a fire. Get out as quickly as you can.
• If there’s smoke, crawl along the floor (the air will be clearer down there).
• Go into a room with a window if the way out is blocked. Put bedding or towels along the bottom of the door to stop smoke getting in. Open the window and shout “FIRE, HELP!”
Have you got an escape plan?
- Plan an escape route for your home.
- Practice the route with your children.
- Keep all the exists clear all the time.
- Have a set place for where you’re going to keep window and door keys, so children or babysitters will know where to look for them too.
- Have a plan B in case your normal escape route gets blocked.
I hope you never find yourself having to need to use your escape plan but please please don’t leave it too late to put these preparedness tips into place.
B&Q have a range of smoke detectors starting from as little as £5.57 so there really is no excuse for not having one in your home and being prepared.
*Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.