Ms. Jungers’ kinders from Hunt Elementary were visited by some very special service people last month. Fire Fighters from the Sioux City Fire Department came and talked to them about fire safety. We’ve included a very special article written by Meghan Mrla in this issue as fire safety is important every day of the year. Thank you to Firefighter Josh McClure for dressing up and telling us how each piece of clothing and equipment is used. We will remember, “Stop, drop and roll,” and to create a fire safety route in our homes.
Feature Writer Meghan Mrla Connections Program
Home fires can start and spread quickly, which is why we all need to be careful and educated when it comes to fire safety. Just a little bit of planning can make a big difference for your family.
In 2013, 334 children died in home fires. Eighty-seven percent of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires, which spread rapidly and can leave families as little as two minutes to escape once an alarm sounds. Fires are not just a problem in the United States. In 2008, nearly 61,000 children around the world died due to a fire.
Some children are interested in matches and fire... They may ask questions such as how hot is fire or show an interest in fire through playing with fire trucks or cooking on a play stove. This is healthy, and it is time to begin educating about fire. Fire starting happens when children begin to experiment with fire using matches and lighters. Many fires happen when young children are left alone, even for a short period of time, and have access to matches and lighters. Parents must have clear rules and consequences about fire misuse.
- Keep store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or container. Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision. Teach young children and school-age children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters. Children need to understand that fire is difficult to control; it is fast and can hurt as soon as it touches you. A child with an interest in fire can lead to fire starting and result in repeated fire setting behavior.
- Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate you. Never assign a young child any tasks that involve the use of a lighter or matches (lighting candles, bringing a lighter to an adult to light a cigarette or the fireplace, etc.) If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
- Practice Fire Safety as a Family, A Family that practices together, escapes together!! Family "togetherness" will never be more important than in the event of a fire and your family is forced to escape from the home!! In the event of a fire, all members of your family must react immediately if they are to have the best chance to escape unharmed. Preparing and practicing a Family Escape Plan will assure that all members of your family know what to do if ever faced with a fire within the home.
- Remember kids, be smart, and don’t touch matches. Stay away from lighters
and candles, too. Don't touch radiators or heaters. Ask an adult to turn a heater on or off for you. Don't stand too close to a fireplace or wood stove, either. Don't play with electrical cords. And don't stick anything into an electrical socket. Don't play around in the kitchen. If you want to cook something, be sure to check with a grown-up first. Don't put anything over a lamp. Things thrown over a lamp (like blankets or clothing) could catch fire.
- If there is a fire, Be Prepared, Make an escape plan. Work with your family to plan how to get out of your home if there is a fire. Choose a meeting place. Pick a safe and easy-to-remember spot outside your home where you will meet your family after you get out. Test smoke alarms, Help grown-ups remember to test smoke alarms monthly and to put in new batteries twice a year when the clocks change.
- Be Safe, Get out fast! When you hear the loud beep of the smoke alarm, get out of the house. Never hide or take time to grab your belongings or pets. Follow your escape plan. After all, you've been practicing!! Feel a door before you open it. If it is hot, there may be fire on the other side. Try to get out another way. Stay low to the floor. Since smoke rises, the safest air for breathing is down low. Call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Be sure to do this after you get out of the house. Remember: Only call 9-1-1 if there is a real emergency!!
Stay out! Once you're out, stay out. Don't go back for anything!! Remember.... Stop, Drop, and Roll. If your clothing catches fire, remember to stop where you are and drop to the ground. Cover your face and mouth with your hands, and roll over and over until the flames are out.