Child Safety Week runs from 24-30 June, and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging local families and child carers to take some simple measures to stay safe.
Preventable accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UK, but just a few moments’ extra thought can make all the difference. Small steps – like testing your smoke alarms, making sure candles and matches are out of reach, or glancing down the hall to ensure an escape route is clear in case of a fire – can save lives.
Yasmine Ellis, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Young Persons’ Development Manager, said: “There’s nothing more important than the safety of a child in the home, and getting into the habit of taking a quick glance round the room for hazards is a simple step that will make safety an automatic reflex for any parent or carer, and help give real peace of mind.”
She added: “Mums and dads can really help to keep their families safe by talking to their children about the importance of fire safety and making sure they know what to do if the worst happens. Fitting a smoke alarm and involving the children in testing it regularly can also help keep them fire-aware and – most importantly – provide the vital seconds you need to escape in a fire. This could develop a life-saving habit for the future.”
Here are some top tips for a safer home:
· Don’t let your child play with fire – keep candles, lighters and matches well out of children’s reach, and never leave burning candles unattended.
· Keep safe in the kitchen – make sure children know that the kitchen is not a play area. Never leave younger children alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking and never let them play near the oven and hob.
· Socket safety – teach children not to poke anything, especially fingers, into sockets. Use socket safety covers where necessary.
· Nominate your child to be the ‘escape champ’ – regularly role-play your escape routes and give your children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
· Get ‘key clever’ – encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place. Keys for windows and doors should always be 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 what their address is. If it helps, pin both up by the phone. Make sure you explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
· Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – a working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire. You should have one on each level of your home and test them weekly.
· Be CO aware – carbon monoxide given off by faulty appliances can often go undetected and it rapidly becomes a silent killer. A carbon monoxide detector will give you warning of the presence of the lethal gas, so make sure you have one fitted in your home.
· Don’t remove the batteries – if your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don’t remove the batteries. Instead, 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, don’t investigate or try to tackle the fire yourself. Use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999. If someone needs to be rescued, wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the right equipment and training. Never go back into the property.
For further advice on fire safety, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk or call 0800 389 7849.
To find out more about Child Safety Week, visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust website www.childsafetyweek.org.uk