Parents and Carers

Parents and other adults have a vital role to play in keeping children safe from fire.

You should:

  • Never leave a child alone in a room where there is a candle burning, an open fire heater or in the kitchen when the cooker is on
  • Use fixed guards around open fires and heaters when there are children around
  • Explain to children that fire is a tool, not a toy, and talk about the different ways that adults make use of this tool e.g. candles for light, coal fires for heat, etc.
  • Explain to children that fire can hurt or even kill
  • Keep outbuildings, garden sheds and garages locked to prevent access to flammable items like BBQ gas canisters
  • Try to keep the home free of combustible items such as newspapers and cardboard
  • Ensure that you have a fire action plan and practice it so that everyone in the house knows what to do if the worst happens
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach from your children
  • Check your child's room and school bag for matches and lighters

Carry out regular checks for signs of fire setting behaviour, such as burn marks on carpets, beds, furniture or clothing, especially in your child's bedroom.

In any home containing a suspected fire setter, every room with the exception of bathrooms should have a smoke alarm fitted. Each alarm should be tested weekly and the battery replaced once a year.

It is important to talk through with children what to do if there is a fire – don't avoid it for fear of frightening them. Children need to know how to react, as there may not be an adult around to tell them what to do if a fire happens. Here are the basic instructions to give to your children:

  • If you see smoke or flames, tell someone straight away – a grown-up if possible
  • Get out of the building as soon as possible
  • Never go back into the building for anything