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12 June 2008
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is joining forces with the Child Accident Prevention Trust to help raise awareness of fire safety, particularly in the kitchen.
The organisatons are asking parents to use this year’s Child Safety Week, which runs from 23 to 29 June, as an opportunity to teach their children by example.
Terry Ridgley, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “The kitchen is where many fires start in the home.
“It’s crucial that parents know the facts about kitchen fire safety so they can pass on valuable knowledge to the whole family. Teaching by example can reduce the chances of having a devastating fire at home.”
The theme for Child Safety Week is ‘Make a change - make a difference’, highlighting that making small changes in our everyday lives can make a big difference to children’s safety.
The week provides an opportunity for parents in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their homes and, as families, to teach children about the dangers of fire and what to do in the event of one breaking out.
They can arrange for Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service to carry out a free safety check in their home by ringing 01296 744477, emailing email@example.com or filling in an online form.
Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of Child Accident Prevention Trust, said: “Just a few simple changes can keep your family safe from fire – fitting the smoke alarm that’s been gathering dust in your kitchen drawer, changing your smoke alarm for one with a silencer button so you’re not tempted to take the batteries out if it goes off accidentally while you’re cooking, and practising with your children what to do if the alarm goes off for real.”
Here are Terry’s top tips to help make sure your children stay safe in the kitchen and from fire in the home:
Fit and maintain a smoke alarm
You should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly. Ideal places are at the top and bottom of staircases, on stair landings, and between living and sleeping areas.
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.
Never leave cooking unattended
If you need to leave the kitchen, turn electrical appliances off and take pans off the heat.
Make sure children know the kitchen is not a play area
Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking and never let them play near the oven and hob.
Set clear kitchen rules for children
These should include: Never play with matches; never switch on the cooker; never put anything on top of the cooker; and don’t touch any saucepans on the cooker.
Don't overload plug sockets
One plug per socket is the rule, especially if the appliance takes a lot of power (like a kettle). Be careful not to let leads trail over cookers or touch water.
Nominate your child to be the ‘escape champ’
Regularly role-play the escape routes you would use in the event of a fire, and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
Get ‘key clever’
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. Encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place.
Discuss how to call 999
Make sure children know the number off by heart as well as their address. Always make sure that both are pinned up by the phone and explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency
In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and dial 999!
Don’t delay for valuables, and don’t investigate or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile phone, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to dial 999. If someone needs to be rescued, wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it. Never go back in.