2Fire Safety

Most house fires are preventable

Did you know that one in 4 childhood accidents involve burns? Burning_House_cartoon-1

The house is full of potential dangers all around you. It is essential that you understand how to prevent a fire and what to do in case there is one!

The majority of house fires start in the kitchen


Never leave food cooking on the stove without supervision.

Don’t leave dishtowels, pot holders, or paper towels near the stove.

Be sure to clean grease from the stovetop each time you cook.

 Watch this useful video on safety in the kitchen.

Video provided courtesy of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Precautions you can take to prevent house fires

  • Turn off electrical appliances at the power point when not in use
  • Clean the lint filter in a clothes dryer after each use
  • Do not allow open fires in a fireplace without a screen
  • Do not place clothing or other flammable items near a heater
  • Always keep lighters and matches out of reach of children

Also …

  • Matches and lighters
    Never smoke around children or while you are “on the job”. If you find matches, lighters, or other smoking-related materials, put them up high (preferably in a locked cabinet) where children can’t see or reach them.
  • Careful in the kitchen
    Cook only if you have permission from the adults in the household. Never leave cooking unattended. Set a timer to remind you to turn everything off.
  • Space heaters
    Keep anything that can burn-such as books, paper, and clothing-at least 3feet (1 meter) away from space heaters. And keep children away from portable heaters and space heaters, too.
  • Turn pot handles in
    Don’t let pot handles stick out over the edge of the stove where children can bump or grab them. Turn handles in, pointing toward the centre of the stove, to prevent spilling hot liquids or food.
  • Use microwaves safely
    Never put anything into a microwave unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. Paper, glass, and microwave-proof earthenware are safe. In most cases, metals are not. Read and follow the instructions on all packaged microwavable meals. Do no exceed recommended cooking times. If you are not sure of how to use the microwave, do not use it. Be careful when you are heating food for children that there are no “hot pockets” where children can burn their mouths. Keep children away from the microwave as escaping steam can burn.

Be prepared

Escape_Plan_cartoonIn case of emergency — you should be familiar with your host family’s escape plan

  • Ask your host family for a fire evacuation plan and designated meeting place outside
  • You should be familiar with all exits in the house
  • Know how to unlock all windows and doors
  • Know 2 ways out of each room especially bedrooms.
  • Ask if there is a working smoke alarm in the house
  • Know the location of a fire extinguisher and fire blanket

How quickly do I need to act if there is a fire?

Eviction_cartoon-1In the case of a small, localised fire, do your best to extinguish it right away.

If you smell smoke or see a fire spreading rapidly, gather everyone in the house, get down low and go, go, go!

Remember smoke and heat rises so the cleaner air is always near the floor. Instruct the children to get down on their hands and knees behind you and crawl together to the nearest exit! If smoke and fire fills a room, try to get to the nearest window or door to exit.

Houses should be equipped with smoke alarms but always be alert – kids will not necessarily wake from a smoke alarm so you need to act fast!

Before opening a door, check for heat by touching it – there could be more fire on the other side.  If it is hot, use a different exit if possible.

If smoke or flames are blocking the way to the children’s bedrooms, go straight to a neighbour and call the fire department. Tell them that the children are trapped inside and where they are.

  • Don’t go back into a burning building for any reason. Bring everyone to the designated meeting place and count heads.
  • Don’t attempt to call 000 until you are a safe distance from a fire.
  • The best way to treat a minor burn is to run it under cold water for 10-15 minutes. If a burn blisters or chars, seek medical attention.