Two-thirds of home fires that kill children under age 5 occur in homes without a working smoke alarm.
When fire breaks out, you have only seconds to escape its powerful heat, blinding smoke, and deadly gases.
Families can dramatically increase their chances of surviving a fire simply by installing and maintaining working smoke alarms.
Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
If you keep the door of your baby's bedroom closed, keep a working smoke alarm in the room and use a baby monitor so you can hear when the alarm sounds.
As soon as your children are old enough to understand, familiarize them with the sound of the smoke alarm.
Teach them that when one goes off, they must leave the home and go to the designated family meeting place outside.
Cut your family's chances of dying in a house fire in half by having a working smoke alarm.
Matches, lighters, and other heat sources are the leading causes of fire deaths for children.
Never underestimate your child's curiosity about fire, nor their ability to strike matches or start a lighter.
Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
Remember: even child-resistant lighters are not childproof and should be stored securely as well.
When a child is curious about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly and firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for only adults to use carefully.
In addition, instruct toddlers to tell you when they find a match or lighter.
Never use matches or lighters as amusement for your children. They may imitate your actions.
Take extreme care with the storage of your matches and lighters. Your children are depending on you.
Children as young as three years old can follow a fire escape plan they have practiced often.
Yet, many families don't have detailed escape plans, and those that do usually don't practice them.
Practicing a fire escape plan and fire-safe behaviors on a regular basis can mean the difference between life and death.
Draw a basic diagram of your home, marking all windows and doors, and plan two routes of escape out of each room.
Consider various fire scenarios when creating your plan and develop actions for a safe escape.
Plan for each member of your family, including babies and toddlers who may be unable to escape on their own.
Keep exits clear of debris and toys.
Keep your child's bedroom door closed.
If a hallway fire occurs, a closed door may hinder the smoke from overpowering your baby or toddler, giving firefighters extra time for rescue.
Teach toddlers not to hide from firefighters; their uniforms can be scary in times of crisis.
Teach children that firefighters are there to help in an emergency.
Take children for a tour at your local fire station so that they can see a firefighter in full gear.
Teach your children how to crawl low under the smoke to reduce smoke inhalation.
Also, teach your children how to touch closed doors to see if they are hot before opening; if hot, use an alternate escape route.
Have a safe meeting place outside the home and teach children never to go back inside.
Practicing fire-safe behaviors and knowing what to do in an emergency can give your family extra seconds to escape.
Copyright @ United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County