Taking care of children is serious business, and preventing fires and knowing what to do in a fire emergency are part of the job.
An Escape Plan
Ask the adults who hired you about the household's plan for escaping a fire. You'll find out what they expect you to do, and you'll be reminding them to plan ahead for fire emergencies.
- Have them give you a home tour. Learn where all the windows and doors are and make sure you can open them.
- Find two ways out of each room - especially bedrooms.
- Make sure the family has decided on an outside meeting place where everyone is supposed to go when they've escaped a fire. (So you can count heads and make sure everyone is out.)
- Don't scare the kids, but talk to them about escaping fire. Find out how much they know, and whatever you do, don't confuse them by changing their household's escape plans.
Stay with the kids
Supervise the children when they're awake and check on them often when they're in bed. Once they're in bed. Once they're sound asleep, stay close enough to hear them if they wake up.
- Don't smoke. Put matches and lighters away - up high where children can't reach them.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. (And keep the children away from space heaters, too.)
- If you're allowed to cook, declare a "kid-free zone" 3 feet around the stove or microwave. Turn pot handles in toward the center of the stove so children can't grab them. Never leave the room when you're cooking and keep toys, clothing, paper, and other clutter off the stove.
- Follow the instructions for microwave meals and never put any container in a microwave unless you're positive it's safe. Never microwave anything for longer than the instructions say to. If you're not sure how to use a microwave, don't. Let foods cooked in microwaves cool, and then open containers carefully.
If there’s a Fire
Your first job is to get yourself and the children outside.
- Then stay out.
- Don't go back for anything. When everyone's arrived at the meeting place, take the children with you to call the fire department form a neighbor's phone or call from a portable phone if you have one.
Give the fire department the exact address of the fire and stay on the phone until they tell you it's okay to hang up. Then call the adults who hired you.
- If you run into smoke while you're escaping, try another way out. If you can't avoid the smoke, crawl on our hands and knees with your head 1 to 2 feet above the floor.
- Test doors before you open them - if there’s fire on the other side, it will feel warm around the cracks.
Kneel down, and then reach up as high as you can and touch the door - at the knob and around the frame with the back of your hand.
If the door's cool, open it with caution. If it's warm, try another escape route.
If you can’t get to the Children
If smoke or flames are blocking the way to the children's bedrooms, leave the building and call the fire department from a neighbor's home or a portable phone. Tell them where the children are trapped.
Ask an adult to give you the following information and put it in your pocket so you'll have it in an emergency. Emergency Phone Numbers:
- Poison Control
- Doctor (Name and Phone Number)
- Where Parents can be Reached
Full Address Where You Are Babysitting:
- Neighbors to Contact (name, address, and phone)
- Other Instructions