Family Fire Safety: A Tipsheet for Parents

Blog Post created by teachontarioteam on Jul 23, 2015

firefighter_50.jpgFire safety is one of the most important things a child can ever learn.

While most kids never have to face the scary reality of a serious fire, it can happen to anyone at any time.

That’s why it’s so important that kids learn about how to avoid a fire in the first place. But there’s lots parents need to remember, too, to keep the whole family safe from fire.

Below are some tips for parents from the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office on fire safety.

Family Fire Safety Tips:
  • Teach your kids to Stop, Drop and Roll should they catch on fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of kids.
  • Teach kids that they must never play with matches, lighters or sources of fire.
  • Teach your kids to stay away from and be safe around fire sources.
  • Never leave children unsupervised around a fire source such as a working stove or fireplace.
  • Teach your children not to hide in the event of a fire no matter how scared they are.
  • Teach your children the importance of never sticking anything in an electrical socket.
  • Be sure not to store any foods or other items children may be tempted by in above or around the stove.


On Being Prepared:
  • Choose the Right Alarm: there are many different types of smoke alarms available with different power sources, technologies and features. Before purchasing smoke alarms, visit www.ofm.gov.on.ca for information or contact your local fire department.
  • Install Alarms in Proper Locations: Ontario law requires that working smoke alarms be located on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Avoid installing smoke alarms in or adjacent to kitchens and bathrooms, or near air vents, windows or ceiling fans.
  • Manage Nuisance Alarms: If a smoke alarm frequently activates due to cooking activities or using the shower, do not remove the battery! Try moving the smoke alarm, purchasing a smoke alarm with a hush feature or replacing ionization alarms located near kitchens with photoelectric alarms. For more solutions to nuisance alarms, visit www.makeitstop.ca.
  • Change Batteries: Install a new set of batteries in your smoke alarm at least once a year or whenever the low-battery warning sounds. Test the smoke alarm after installing a new battery.
  • Test Your Alarms: You should test your smoke alarm every month and upon returning home after an absence of more than a few days. If the alarm fails to sound when the test button is pressed, make sure the battery is installed correctly, or install a new battery. If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one.
  • Replace Alarms: Be sure to replace your smoke alarm once every ten years.


Avoiding Fire Checklist:

To keep your family safe, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you stay in the kitchen when you are cooking? Leaving cooking unattended is the number one cause of cooking fires.
  • Do you keep things that burn away from the stove? Kitchen fires often occur because items are kept too close to the stove top.
  • Do you keep young children away from the stove? Children can easily be burned or scalded in the cooking area.
  • Do you wear tight-fitted or rolled-up sleeves when you use the stove? Loose-fitting clothing can come into contact with the burners and catch fire.
  • Do you know what to do if you have a cooking fire? When cooking on the stove keep a tight-fitting lid nearby. If a pot catches fire, slide the lid over the pot to smother the flames and turn off the stove. Never attempt to move a burning pot. If you have a fire in the microwave, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  • Do you know the correct way to treat a burn? Minor burns can be treated by running cool water over the wound for three to five minutes. If burn is severe, seek medical attention.

Tips reprinted with permission from the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office (2007).