HEREFORD & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is working with partner organisations and other agencies to get important messages across as part of Child Safety Week 2022, which runs from 6 – 12 June.
The campaign is again being run by the Child Action Prevention Trust (CAPT) with the theme: ‘Helping families stop serious accidents lies at the heart of Child Safety Week’.
Preventable accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UK, and a few moments’ extra thought can make all the difference. Small steps like testing your smoke alarms and making sure candles and matches are out of reach, or a quick glance down the hall to ensure an escape route is clear in case of a fire, take just seconds but can save lives.
In Herefordshire and Worcestershire, during the ten-year period from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2021, HWFRS were called out to 391 incidents where children (age 0 – 17) were injured or killed.
Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said:
“There’s nothing more important than the safety of a child in the home, and getting into the habit of taking a quick glance around the room for hazards is a simple step that will make safety an automatic reflex for any parent or carer, and help give real peace of mind.
“Another really vital thing mums and dads can do is talk to their kids about the importance of fire safety and make sure they know what to do if the worst happens. Fitting smoke alarms and involving the children in testing them regularly can also help keep them fire-aware and – most importantly – provide the vital seconds you need to escape in a fire. This could develop a life-saving habit for the future.”
Here are Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s top tips for a safer home:
- Don’t let your child play with fire: Keep candles, lighters and matches well out of children’s reach, and never leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep safe in the kitchen: Make sure children know that the kitchen is not a play area – never leave younger children alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking.
- Socket safety: Teach children not to poke anything, especially fingers, into sockets.
- Nominate your child to be the ‘Escape champ’: Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
- Get ‘key clever’: Encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place. Keys for windows and doors should always be kept in an accessible place.
- Discuss how to call 999: Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency. They should also know their address. You can pin both up by the phone; explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
- Fit and maintain smoke alarms: Working smoke alarms can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire. You should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly.
- Don’t remove the batteries: If your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don’t remove the batteries. Instead, move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
- In the event of a fire – ‘Get out, Stay out, Call 999!’: Don’t delay for valuables, don’t investigate or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999. Never go back in.
Each year in Worcestershire, the annual Young Citizen’s Challenge gives children in school year six vital information on issues such as road, fire, water and cyber safety as well as emotional wellbeing. This event is jointly organised with West Mercia Police and provides a series of workshops addressing particular safety issues which are delivered by HWFRS, WMP and other partner organisations.
“You can find out more about fire safety at .hwfire.org.uk/safety-and-advice/, and you can also contact our Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155 to see if you might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit.
“You can also complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety Check now by following the link on our website.
“This easy-to-follow home fire safety check will take you through your home one room at a time and the simple questions will help you spot fire risks as you go around your home.”