Home Fire Safety for Kids and Teens

While no one can ever be totally prepared for a fire, your children need to know what to do should this unforeseen disaster strike in your home. A little bit of planning, preparation, and talking to your children can make all the difference in the world. Check out our guide to home fire safety for kids and teens and find out how to prevent a home fire, design a fire escape plan, and more.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 5, 2020

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Home fires happen when you least expect them to, and the aftermath can be absolutely devastating to everyone in your family, especially if you have children in the home.

While no one ever expects or can be totally prepared for a fire, it is important for your children to know what to do should this unforeseen disaster strike in your home. A little bit of planning, preparation, and talking to your children can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the short moments in which everyone will have time to react during a fire.

Home Fire Safety Facts

Did you know that a home fire that takes place every 86 second in the United States? Firefighters have to respond to over 358,000 fires per year, and even though you may not expect it, one of those fires could affect you or someone you know.

Most home fires are caused by cooking, smoking cigarettes, or from heating devices that get knocked down or malfunction inside the home. On average, seven people die each day from fires. 12,300 civilians get injured in home fires every year, and out of that number, 2,510 die.

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Fire Safety for Kids

It is vital to explain to children just how a house fire would affect your family and give them the straight facts. Everything you own could go up in smoke, and many items are irreplaceable, especially family heirlooms and items with sentimental value. The home where you have lived and made memories could burn to the ground, never to be rebuilt again. In some instances, people and even beloved pets could lose their lives. A fire could destroy everything a child knows in an instant.

However, one of the best things you can teach your kids is how to prevent a fire from starting in the first place.

One of the major causes of house fires is space heater use. In winter, homes get colder, and many people turn to using space heaters to avoid huge utility bills. Children are notorious for leaving rooms with appliances, such as the previously mentioned space heaters, running. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can pose a problem, especially if a space heater got tipped over. Pets can knock them over while running through the room and they cannot tell you, so until you find out, flames could break out.

Many space heaters have safety features that will prevent them from running if they are tipped over but teaching your kids to be careful around them and always to keep them upright can make a world of difference. It is important to make sure that nothing is obstructing the space heater, such as blankets or other pieces of fabric or clothing, as those could get hot and ignite. You will want to place the heater on a flat surface out of the way, so that no one trips over the cord, causing it to fall over. To best avoid any malfunctions with a space heater, gate them off from younger children and teach older children not to touch the appliances and to have adults to adjust the temperature.

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Fire Safety for Teens

Some teenagers do not fully know the dangers of fire. It’s not always something we just naturally know. While it may seem like something they are born with the knowledge of, they need to be taught from a young age, and be reminded when they are older with more freedom and responsibilities.

You want to make sure to teach your teens to never smoke inside the home. Teen years are a time for experimenting, and while teens should not smoke at all, they definitely should not light their first cigarette up in their bedroom.

If you are going to allow your teens to burn candles or incense, be sure you teach them not to play with them or try to move them while they are lit, as they could be dropped and easily start a fire. Finally, it is crucial that your teens know to extinguish any flames or embers before leaving a room.

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What to Do in a Fire and Safe Escape Plans

Should a fire erupt in your home, your kids need to know what to do and how to conduct themselves to make sure that they get out of the house safely. It is always important for your children to stay low to the ground during a fire. They should feel doors with their hands to see where the fire may be. It is vital that your children remain as calm as possible even though the situation is scary.

In case of a fire emergency, you want to be sure you have a plan set in place that your children are familiar with ahead of time. This is something that should not be too difficult for small children or even teens. You should have an established meeting place and let the children know to remain low to the ground at all times. They should know to stop, drop, and roll if any of their clothing should catch fire.

It is beneficial that your children and teens know at least two different ways to get out of the house, depending on where the fire is. Make sure that they know that once they are out, they need to stay out no matter what is still inside, even if it is a pet. Putting escape ladders in sleeping areas can also make a world of difference when it comes to getting out safely. Make sure that you and your children practice this safety plan twice a year so it stays fresh in their minds.

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Home Fire Prevention

Doing everything you can to prevent a home fire can be easy if done right.

You should always make sure that you have fire detectors on every level of your home. It is vital to check the batteries in these regularly to ensure they work properly. You can also put escape ladders in bedroom closets. These can be thrown out a window as a means of escape should a fire erupt and be blocking exit ways.

Nobody can ever prepare for a fire, but there are ways and things that you can do to make sure that you stay as safe as possible should you be faced with one of these catastrophic events. The best thing you can do is to teach your children how to be safe and come up with a fire escape plan to help protect them.

By following the simple measures, including turning off appliances, keeping lighters and matches away from children, and blowing candles out before leaving the room, you can ensure that your family is safer for it.

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