Posted: Oct 8, 2012 at 9:19 PM [Oct 8, 2012]
- National Fire Prevention Week is October 7 - 13
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Many people think a fire won't happen to them. But what happens if it does? And what if there are children in the home? Will they know how to react? Nationwide, about 462 children ages 14 and under die each year in residential fires. Earlier this summer in Washtenaw County, a fire destroyed a family’s apartment, and thankfully there were no fatalities.
“This incident highlights the important need for reminding parents and kids about fire safety,” said Amber Kroeker, Safe Kids Huron Valley Coordinator and Injury Prevention Health Educator for Mott Children’s Hospital.
Safe Kids Huron Valley is visiting pre-schools in Washtenaw and Livingston counties this fall to distribute a fire safety book to kids, “No Dragons for Tea,” that teaches children what they should do in the event of a fire in their home.
“Many adults mistakenly believe that, in a fire, children will run to or call for a parent,” said Kroeker. “Others believe that a child will instinctively know to leave a burning building. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This is why it’s important for parents to teach their children how to act in a fire – it could mean the difference between life and death.”
Younger children frequently are afraid of the very people and things that could save them. For instance, the sound of the smoke alarm or fire engine sirens can frighten children. Also, a firefighter appearing through black smoke in full firefighting gear can appear monster-like and be extremely intimidating to a child. Often children do not want to leave with the firefighter, waiting instead for their parents to rescue them.
Children often view fires as they've seen them on television – slow-moving flames with large, white, puffy clouds of smoke. They need to learn that real fires are not like this at all. Real fires are fast, hot, dark and potentially deadly. The smoke, toxic gases and lack of oxygen can injure people and hamper escape by affecting vision, breathing and judgment. The majority of all childhood fire-related deaths are caused by smoke and toxic gases alone.
Safe Kids Huron Valley recommends that parents and caregivers prepare children on how to act in case of a residential fire by reviewing these safe practices.
Tips for Parents
About Safe Kids Huron Valley
Safe Kids Huron Valley, which includes Livingston and Washtenaw counties, works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children through age 14. Safe Kids Huron Valley is a member of Safe Kids Michigan and Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Huron Valley is proudly led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Founded in 1987 as the National SAFE KIDS Campaign by Children’s National Medical Center with support from Johnson & Johnson, Safe Kids Worldwide is a 501© (3) non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. For more information about Safe Kids, visit: www.safekids.org or www.michigansafekids.org. For more information about Safe Kids Huron Valley, visit us on Facebook.