Babysitters are given a lot of responsibilities. But the most important is the responsibility for the lives and safety of children. And fire safety is a big part of that job.
Prevention is always the best cure. You can guard against a fire emergency by taking a few simple precautions.
Close Bedroom Doors
When the children are in bed, close their bedroom doors. In the event of fire, this can slow smoke from spreading and may give you and the children extra time to escape. Remember: Closing bedroom doors means you'll have to listen more carefully for the children
Put Away Matches
Move matches, lighters, or any other smoking materials out of the reach of small children.
Give Space Heaters Space
Keep space heaters at least three feet (36 inches) away from things that burn such as furniture and paper. And keep children away from space heaters.
Be Kitchen Wise
Cook only with permission from the children's parents. Set a timer to remind you to turn everything off.
Turn Pot Handles In
Whenever you cook, turn pot handles so they don't stick out over the edge of the stove. This helps prevent dangerous spills of hot food and liquid.
Never put anything into a microwave oven unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. Paper, glass and microwave-proof earthenware are safe. Never put metals, including aluminum foil, in a microwave.
In Case of Fire
Get Out! Stay Out!
If you smell smoke, hear a smoke alarm, or see flames, get everybody out! Right away! Do not go back into the burning building. Go directly to the meeting place and count heads to make sure that everybody is there.
Take the children to a neighbor's house and call 911. Give the fire department the complete address of the fire, and stay on the phone until you are told you may hang up. Then call the children's parents.
Do Not Go Back!
Watch the children carefully while you are waiting for the fire department. Be sure that no one goes back inside the house for any reason. Keep everyone a safe distance from the house and away from fire fighters.
If You Can't Get to the Children
You may have to decide whether it is best to leave the children in the home while you get help. Heavy smoke or flames may be blocking the way to the children's bedrooms. If you can do it safely, get the children out right away. If it seems too dangerous, go straight to a neighbor's and call the fire department. Tell them that the children are still inside the house and where they are.
Plan your Escape
If there is a fire, your most important job is to see that you and the children escape safely.
Know Two Ways Out
Know the location of all exit doors, and find two ways out of every room. This is important in case one escape route is blocked by smoke or flames.
Decide on a Meeting Place
Pick a safe place outside the house where everybody is to go in case of a fire. Make sure every child knows where to meet. Many families may have already taught their children to go to a specific meeting place. To avoid confusion, ask the parents about this before they go out.
When you babysit, you are in charge. During an emergency, you must act on your own and right away.
Cool a Burn
The best first aid for burns is to run cool water over the burned area for 10 minutes. If a burn starts to blister, get help quickly.
Stop, Drop and Roll
If your clothing catches on fire: 1) Stop, don't run. 2) Drop to the floor and cover your face with your hands. 3) Roll over and over until the fire goes out. Babysitters may have to help young children do this.
Crawl Low Under Smoke
Smoke rises. During a fire, cleaner air is always near the floor. Get down on your knees and crawl to an exit, telling the children to follow.
Important Things to Write Down
- The complete address of where you are babysitting
- Names and ages of children
- Important Phone Numbers
- Where the parents can be reached