Babysitting is a job many people take for granted.When parents call and ask you to “sit” in their place with their children, they are telling you that they trust you to be as responsible as they are for the safety of their children. It’s a big job! It certainly should be enjoyable, but it needs to be safe and responsible as well. In many instances, you are in a strange house for the first time and are unfamiliar with the house layout and the information that becomes vital in an emergency.
Discuss the following points with the parents before they leave the house. Have the parents fill out the fire safety checklist. Carry it in your pocket until they return.
When babysitting, you are in charge. During an emergency, you must immediately act on your own to ensure the safety of the children you are sitting for.
Be familiar with the house. Learn all exits and how to unlock doors and windows. Know 2 ways out of each room and then plan alternate escape routes.
Have the parents show you and the children an established meeting place outside the home. Don’t confuse the children with a different plan.
Cook only if you have the permission of the parents. Turn pot handles in to prevent spilling, and never leave cooking unattended.
In case of fire, gather the children and exit the house immediately.
Account for everyone and go immediately to a neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1. Have an adult neighbor meet the police or first-arriving fire officer to tell them everyone is out safely. Tell them the exact reason for exiting the house, and where the smoke alarm activated or fire started.
Never go back inside the house! Stay outside, stay safe, and keep the children calm and close by.
If you encounter smoke or flames that are blocking the way to the children, go straight to the neighbor’s house and dial 9-1-1. Tell them the children are trapped inside and where they are. Wait for the fire company on the street outside with the neighbor so you can them exactly where the children are.
If you encounter smoke or flames while you and the children are escaping a fire, use other established exit routes.
If you must escape through smoke, remember that heat and smoke rises, so stay low by crawling through the cleaner air on the floor. Keep the children constantly in sight and tell them to get out quickly.
If the parents haven’t tested the smoke alarms recently, ask them to test the alarms before they leave the house. Replace batteries as required to ensure they are operating.
The fall and winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining,and an increase in fires due to heating equipment. Below are summarized some fire safety tips to make your home safer during the winter holiday months.
Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January, and February, and trails only cooking equipment in home fires year-round.
Have your heating unit serviced by a professional.
Buy fuels only from a reputable company.
Use only fuel type recommended by manufacturer.
Hire a certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney.
Ensure that you know how the fireplace flue works.
Purchase and use a fireplace screen to control sparks.
Make sure that all combustibles are a safe distance from any heating source.
Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from all combustibles.
Dispose of ashes in metal container located away from buildings.
Provide proper ventilation.
Properly install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.