It’s that time again — when students head back to class. And for many students, this may be the school year where they will be trusted to be home alone after school.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue encourages parents and caregivers to review fire and life safety tips with them.
Talk to your kids about how and when to call 911 for police, fire, or medical assistance in the event of an emergency. Children should know their address, phone number, and your contact information so that they can provide the information to an emergency dispatcher.
It’s also a good idea to have phone numbers for family and neighbors posted on the refrigerator, near the phone, or on a designated bulletin board in the event kids need assistance but it’s not an emergency.
This is also a good time to set house rules on using the stove, oven, or microwave. Cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. Most of the fires start on the stovetop due to food or oil being left unattended while being heated or items placed too close to the burners.
The following tips may help your child avoid a fire:
- Allow cooking privileges based on age and maturity. Consider allowing younger children to only use a microwave or oven to heat food (versus the stovetop). However, use caution when heating food due to the potential for burn injuries.
- If allowed to use the stovetop, never leave food (especially oil) unattended — even for a moment! Pre-teens and teenagers enjoy many activities that can cause them to be distracted and/or forget they’re cooking. Remind them to stay by the stovetop when cooking. If they need to leave the room, turn off the burner.
- Keep things that can burn or catch on fire such as potholders, dish towels, and food boxes away from the stovetop.
- Water and oil do not mix! Never throw water on a grease fire or try to move the flaming pan. Either action can cause the fire to spread or cause burns to a body.
- If a fire occurs, leave the home and call 911 from a cellphone or a neighbor’s home.
Other safety tips to share include:
- Never use matches, lighters, or candles. Keep these items away from children and remind them that they are not to be touched by anyone other than an adult.
- Know two escape routes from every room in the house. One of those could be a window. Create and practice a home fire escape plan.
- Do not place items that can burn such as clothes, blankets, or scarves over a lamp or near a heater.
- Do not play with or overload electrical cords, and do not insert anything other than a plug into an electrical socket.
- Never mix cleaning products together. Each product has a job to do, but together could cause harm, off-gassing, or an explosion.
- Know where first-aid supplies are located. Consider signing up older children for a first-aid, home alone, babysitting, and/or CPR class.