- Never leave a child alone in a room where there is a candle burning, an open fire or portable heater, or in the kitchen when the cooker is on.
- Use fixed guards around open fires and portable heaters, and make sure the pot and pan handles are positioned safely on the hob while you are cooking.
- Remember to switch off hair straighteners after use to avoid fire, and make sure you keep them out of the reach of children. Hair straighteners get hot enough to cook bacon and eggs and can stay hot for up to 15 minutes after they have been unplugged. This can lead to horrific burns for toddlers and young children.
- If your child starts to show a fascination with fire, engage them in conversation and explain to them calmly and clearly that fire can hurt or even kill. Also make sure your children know the consequences of deliberate fire setting, an outdoor fire can delay fire crews from getting to other emergencies where people’s lives are at risk. You can also contact your local Community Action Team for more advice and guidance.
- 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.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.
- 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 and try to keep combustible items such as newspapers and cardboard in a secure place in the house.
- Keep outbuildings, garden sheds and garages locked to prevent access to flammable items like BBQ gas canisters.
It is also very important to talk to children about what to do if they discover a fire either at home or elsewhere – 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 help or assist them when there is a fire.
Here’s some basic advice to give to your children:
· If you see smoke or flames, leave the building immediately, closing the doors behind you if you can.
· Once you’re outside and safe, tell someone straight away – a grown-up if possible. Or phone 999 and ask for the fire service.
· Don’t go back into the building for any reason.
· Get out, stay out, and call for help!
Smoke and Heat alarms could help save your home, and your life. Test them weekly and never remove the batteries. Please be aware that the standards have changed. For more details of what is required
Follow this link: /your-safety/for-householders/fire-and-smoke-alarms-in-scottish-homes.aspx
The SFRS website also contains further information on how to site and look after your smoke and heat alarms. /your-safety/for-householders/smoke-alarms.aspx
Wherever you are, it’s important that you and your family know how to escape if there is a fire. It doesn’t take long to make an escape plan and it could save lives, especially if you check and practice your plan regularly.
Research has shown that children can remain asleep when smoke alarms are sounding. Ensure that any sleeping children have been roused from sleep.
Find out about Escape Plans here: /your-safety/for-householders/escape-plans.aspx
If you have genuine concern that your child could be capable of, or has shown physical signs of fire setting, then you should ensure that every room apart from the bathroom has a smoke alarm fitted. You should fit a heat alarm in your kitchen rather than a smoke alarm.
For further information regarding help SFRS can offer visit Firesetters Intervention and Re-education Scheme (FIReS) section of the website. If you are still concerned about your childs safety or their fascination with fire you can also contact your local community action team for further advice.