There’s nothing more important than the safety of a child in the home
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is working with partner organisations and other agencies to get important messages across as part of Child Safety Week 2019 which runs from 3-9 June.
Preventable accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UK, and a few moments' extra thought can make all the difference. Small steps like testing your smoke alarms and making sure candles and matches are out of reach, or a quick glance down the hall to ensure an escape route is clear in case of a fire, take just seconds but can save lives.
Station Commander Bob Sproat of HWFRS's Community Risk Department 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.
"Another really vital thing mums and dads can do is talk to their kids about the importance of fire safety and make 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 Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's 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.
- Socket safety – Teach children not to poke anything, especially fingers, into sockets.
- Nominate your child to be the 'Escape champ' – Regularly role-play escape routes and give 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.
- Discuss how to call 999 – Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency. They should also know their address. You can pin both up by the phone; 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 it weekly.
- 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. Use a mobile, a neighbour's phone or a phone box to call 999. Never go back in.
Each year in Herefordshire, the two-week Crucial Crew event gives children in school year six vital information on issues such as road, fire, water and cyber safety as well as emotional wellbeing. HWFRS works with West Mercia Police, Herefordshire Council and other partner organisations to ensure that those taking part learn all about staying safe and happy.
In Worcestershire, the annual Young Citizen's Challenge, also for year six pupils, is jointly organised with West Mercia Police and provides a series of workshops addressing particular safety issues which are delivered by HWFRS, WMP and other partner organisations.
The popular Young Firefighters Association, which is a uniformed youth organisation for teenagers from 13-17 years old, has branches in Droitwich and Redditch. New members are given a 13-week training course in various firefighter skills before going on to learn more complex drills.
To find out more about Child Safety Week go to the CAPT website www.childsafetyweek.org.uk