Fire and Burn Safety
Injuries sustained from fires are one of the leading causes of childhood death in the United States and most families are unprepared or underprepared for the prospect of a residential fire. This comes even as 300 children are treated for burns in emergency rooms every day. Education and preparation are the most effective methods of preventing fires and keeping your children safe from burns and fires. It is important that you take the time to teach your children about the dangers of fire and devise a clear plan for how your family should respond to an emergency.
Childhood Fire and Burn Statistics You Need to be Aware of
Nobody ever expects disaster will strike them. A lack of preparation and planning can make a disaster a tragedy, which is why you need to recognize the danger and put together a plan both to reduce the risk of fires and burns and to make sure you are able to respond in the most effective manner if something should go wrong. Consider the following statistics to understand why child fires and burns are such a prominent concern.
- Fire related injuries are the fifth greatest cause of child deaths in the United States. 47% of those who die in fire related incidents are under the age of four.
- House fires have a number of causes which include leaving food unattended while cooking, smoking indoors, leaving candles unattended, ignition of gasoline and playing with fire.
- Cigarettes are responsible for the most fatal fires while cooking utensils are linked to the most burn injuries.
- Over 85% of fatal fires are residential. Cooking is linked to the majority of these fires.
- Installing and maintaining smoke detectors can double your chance of surviving a fire.
- Once a smoke detector goes off, you only have two minutes to exit the premises safely.
How to Educate Your Children on Fire Related Accidents
Most children will refrain from playing with fire once they understand what it can do and why it is dangerous. Showing them how to use fire in a beneficial way as a tool, while exhibiting why it can be harmful, will reinforce that it is not a toy to be messed around with. They need to understand that fire has the potential to spread rapidly and can kill if it is mishandled.
Many families do not have an exit plan in the event of an emergency, but making a plan with your family and having regular drills will greatly improve your chances of survival. Drills should educate your child on how to stop, drop and roll, what they can expect from firefighters and why they shouldn’t avoid them in an emergency. You should also instruct your children to stay low to the ground and always test the heat of door knobs before opening them to determine if there are flames on the other side.
Additional ways to prevent fires are to be mindful of where you store items such as lighters, matches, gasoline and other flammable material. Regularly maintaining your furnace, stove and chimney can also prevent a fire. If any of your family members smoke, it should be policy that they never do so indoors and that cigarette butts are extinguished and discarded in a safe manner.
After a tragedy strikes you or your neighborhood is the worst time to think about preparation and prevention. To significantly reduce your family’s risk, involve them in your fire safety planning and make sure that everyone knows what their part is in the evacuation plan and what to do once you have exited your home in an emergency.