Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email preston.fouts@fire.ca.gov

Monday, February 6, 2012

CAL FIRE asks, are your babies and toddlers fire safe?

Are your babies and toddlers fire safe? Did you know that children under the age of 5 are twice as likely to die in a fire as the rest of us according to the United States Fire Administration? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that “on average, in the United States in 2010, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes and someone was injured every 30 minutes”. Every year thousands of children are killed or injured in home fires and 40 percent of them are under five years old. CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “it’s very important to protect the smallest members of your family by making your home safer from fire and practicing fire safety at all times”.

The leading causes of fire related deaths for children under age 5 are matches, lighters, and other heat sources. In 1991 a four year old boy died when he ignited the family Christmas tree while playing with a cigarette lighter. September 2005, two young children six and two died when their apartment caught fire. They had been left alone. These are just a couple of tragic examples of young children dying in fires. “Many of these deaths are preventable” says Chief McClelland.

CAL FIRE, your local fire department and the United States Fire Administration have these suggestions:
· Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
· Teach toddlers to tell you when they find a match or a lighter.
· Remember that even child-resistant lighters are not child-proof and store them safely.
· When a child is curious about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly and firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults to use carefully.
· Never use matches or lighters as amusement. Your children may imitate you.
· Prevent fires by practicing and teaching fire safe behaviors in your home. Keep children 3 feet away from the stove when cooking, don’t overload outlets, and have your heating systems checked annually.
· If you smoke, use deep ashtrays and soak the ashes in water before throwing them away.

When you have babies and toddlers in the home, here are some additional fire survival suggestions:
· Keep a baby harness by the crib in case of emergencies. The harness, worn like a body brace, allows you to comfortably carry your baby and leave your hands free to escape the home.
· Keep your child’s bedroom door closed. If a hallway fire occurs, a closed door will hinder the smoke from overpowering your baby or toddler, giving firefighters extra time for rescue.
· Teach toddlers not to hide from firefighters. Uniforms can be scary in times of crisis. Teach children that firefighters are there to help in an emergency.

Cal FIRE wants you and your children to be fire safe. For more fire safe ideas, visit http://www.fire.ca.gov/