Fire safety

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Teaching a child what to do in case of a fire could prevent confusion and panic and save the child's life. As soon as children are old enough, make sure they know how to escape from the house or apartment. Have an escape plan, and practice it frequently. Determine several alternative escape routes, especially from the child's bedroom. Make sure children understand that they should try to escape, rather than hide under the bed or a table, and that they should never return to a burning building once they're out, even to retrieve a pet. Smoke inhalation is a bigger cause of death than burns, so children should be taught to crawl along the floor and keep their heads down. If you live in an apartment building, teach the proper evacuation procedure, and to always use the stairs, not the elevator. Also teach a child to stay away from stoves, heaters, open flames, hot liquids, matches, and cigarettes. Make sure smoke detectors are installed on every level of your home, and test them every six months to be sure they're working properly and that the batteries are good. Be especially cautious about space heaters, fireplaces, and grills, both indoor and outdoor, and be careful when cooking. Use back burners, keep pot handles turned toward the back, and don't hold a child while you cook. If children are old enough to use the phone, teach them how to call 9-1-1--but only after they've left the burning building.

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