Home fire safety tips for when kids stay at home alone

September 20, 2019

Home fire safety tips for when kids stay at home and often have the added responsibility of looking after their siblings

It is back to school season and a time when there is often a gap between when working parents come home and children arrive home from school. 

The Okotoks Fire Department wants to remind you that when kids are planning to stay home alone, it is important to think about safety and injury prevention.

Consider the possible dangers and talk about how they should be handled.

Having an emergency contact list and supplies such as a first aid kit will increase the family's confidence in handling emergencies.

Fire Safety for kids staying home alone

Everyone in the family needs to know what to do to stay safe from a fire in your home.

  • Matches and lighters are NEVER toys – they are tools for adults only and need to be put away out of sight and reach of young children.
  • Candles can easily tip and cause a home fire -- battery operated, flameless candles are a safer choice for home use.
  • You need smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that are working on every level of your home. Make sure that your kids know that when the alarm goes off they need to leave the house.
  • Practice your fire drill at home with your family. Plan your escape route by knowing two safe ways out of every room and make sure you all know where your family meeting place is.
  • Smoke from a home fire is poisonous and you need to get outside quickly where the air is clean and fresh.
  • Make sure they know that they should call "911" once they are safely outside or at a neighbour's home. They will need to know their address
  • Get out and stay out -- once you are outside, don't go back inside until the Firefighters tell you it is safe.

Food Preparation

Follow these tips to protect yourself when making safe and healthy snacks.

  • Keep a supply of foods that your kids can easily prepare.
  • Don’t pry toast from a plugged-in toaster. Pull the plug first.
  • Only use the stove, oven or microwave if you have been taught how.
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking.
  • If cooking on the stove, keep a pan lid close by. If a pan catches fire, slide the lid over the pan to put out the fire and turn off the burner.
  • Keep anything that can burn away from the stove.
  • If younger children are in the home, keep them at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from the stove, oven or microwave
  • If you use a microwave oven, make sure it is at a safe height, and within easy reach of all users.
  • Only use microwave safe containers, lids and wraps in a microwave.
  • Do not use aluminum foil or any metal containers.
  • When opening a microwave heated container, make sure it is opened slowly away from the face, to prevent burns caused by hot steam or hot food.
  • If your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL. 
    • STOP – because flames get bigger when you run.
    • DROP to the ground, tuck in your elbows and cover your face with your hands.
    • ROLL back and forth, over and over to smother the flames.

Learn more fire and community safety tips at https://www.okotoks.ca/communitysafety