Advice for parents

Advice for parents

The best way to teach children about fire safety is by example. Let your children see you being sensible and careful about cooking, candles and other potential fire risks.

Fire is one of the most common causes of accidental injury and death among children. They are naturally drawn to the warmth and light of fire, but without proper guidance this can turn into a dangerous fascination.

Find out more about talking to children about fire - and what they should do if there is one. The following tips will help keep your children out of harm's way.

Talking to your children about fire

Give children under five clear instructions of what they should and shouldn't do. With older children, it's better to also explain why.

You will probably need to talk about fire safety more than once, to make sure they have remembered and understood what you have taught them. Tell them:

  • to tell a grown-up if they see matches or lighters lying around
  • never to play with matches, lighters or lighted candles
  • never to play, or leave toys, close to a fire or heater
  • not to put things on top of heaters or lights
  • not to pull on electric cables or fiddle with electrical appliances or sockets
  • never to switch on the cooker or put anything on top of it
  • never to touch any saucepans on the cooker

Fire instructions for children

It's important to talk through with children what to do if there's a fire - don't avoid it for fear of frightening them.

Children need to know the basics of how to react, as there may not be an adult around to tell them what to do if a fire happens. Here are the basic instructions to give to your children

  • if they see smoke or flames, they should tell someone straight away - a grown-up if possible
  • get out of the building as soon as possible
  • never go back into the building for anything
  • never hide in a cupboard or under a bed - get out of the house and call for help straight away
  • find a phone and call 999, and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service - give the address of the fire slowly and calmly (they may need to go to the neighbours to find a phone)
  • make sure that children know their address so they can raise the alarm.

What to do if there's a fire (home and community section on firekills) 

Call 999

Once you're out and safe, use a mobile phone, a neighbour's phone, or a phone box to call the emergency services (999 calls are free). When you speak to the operator:

  • give your whole address, including the town
  • tell them what is on fire, eg 'a two-storey house'
  • explain if anyone is trapped and what room they're in - the more information you can give the Fire and Rescue Service, the more quickly and effectively they can help you