Keep Your Child Safe from Fire at School
With schoolchildren heading back to class, it’s appropriate to think about their safety. Indeed, statistics from the United States Fire Administration show that 90% of fires at schools occur during the week, when students are in attendance.
Fortunately, states and municipalities regulate fire safety standards, including sprinklers in school buildings and fire drills. Here are several tips so you can help ensure the safety of your child.
1. Teach your daughter or son to pay attention to other adults and authorities. When there is a fire, only a few minutes will make the difference between life and injury or death. Your child must listen to the teacher, firefighter or other adult and follow instructions to safely evacuate a building.
2. Keep your youngster away from fire. Fire prevention guidelines state that younger students should not handle matches and flammable materials. Older students may use matches, in science labs, under adult supervision.
3. Urge your son or daughter to participate mindfully in Fire Drills. Schools are mandated to perform fire drills several times a year. Remind your youngster that his or her safety depends on paying attention to the teacher or adult. Every child should follow the straight and orderly line of students exiting the building and keep quiet until it is safe to return to the classroom. Some schools have a buddy system so that all students are accounted for and no one is left behind.
4. Help your child contact you. In the event of a fire, your daughter or son may be taken to a location away from the school. The teachers and school officials may not have the students’ emergency contact numbers to notify you of this situation while you are at work. Have your child memorize a home, work or cellphone number to contact you. For young children, re-write the lyrics of a familiar song, using the phone number. For example, Frere Jacques/Are Your Sleeping is a simple melody that can accept the insertion of a phone number. Practice it with your youngster several times a day at first, and then once a day and finally once a week, so the child learns, memorizes and remembers the phone number.
When your child is in the care of teachers and other responsible adults, you trust her or him to stay with the group and follow instructions. Calmly discuss the possibility of a fire, review the need to keep away from dangerous flammable materials and help your daughter or son learn a phone number where you can be reached. This forethought will give you peace of mind that your child will be safe and will be able to contact you in the event of a fire or other emergency at school.