In the past few months, the Australian bushfires have burnt out around 19.8 million acres of land. These fires have shown themselves to be unpredictable, destructive, and perhaps worst of all, uncontrollable.
And this raises a number of concerns about fire safety for children, pets and our families. How can we protect the most vulnerable of ourselves during a crisis like this?
Here are a few simple, yet effective tips to help you keep your youngest safe and protected during the bushfires.
1. Start a Conversation
The single most important thing you can do for your children during a time of crisis is to talk to them about it. We understand that this might exacerbate their fears and leave them feeling anxious, however, if you speak with tact and care, it will only be beneficial.
Tell them the truth, but maintain a positive outlook. Focus on the goodness of the people offering a helping hand, rather than the destructive forces of fire. Talk to them about clever escape stories and encourage them to think up their own ways of being safe.
Educate them on what they need to do if they suspect a fire.
2. Teach Them Simple Ways to Manage Stress
It's a stressful time for everyone, especially children who may not be able to comprehend what's going on. However, a key part of being safe during this time is in the mind. Teach them simple stress management techniques to practice when they feel particularly scared or frightened.
Encouraging them to be open about their fears and anxieties, allows them the freedom to think clearly during a crisis. Simple breathing techniques can be particularly effective as a management tool for stress. You can also encourage them to come to you with any questions, fears or concerns they may have during this time.
3. Reduce Fire Threats Around Your Home
If you have the opportunity to do it, try and clear your outdoor area of anything that could be a fire hazard. If there are unattended logs of wood or dry flammable material, try eliminating from your surroundings as soon as you can.
Make sure you have smoke detectors installed in your homes and keep numbers of the fire departments easy to access.
4. Teach Them the Art of Preparation
If you haven't been directly affected yet, it's a good time to set up a plan with your children. Read up on different stories about the bushfires, and plan out what your next month or so is going to look like.
Discuss a fire safety plan with your children and create an emergency evacuation kit. Add all the important things you would need to take with you, and make sure the whole family is aware of where the kit is. We also recommend including basic safety kits like Fevermates Just-in-Case Tiny Tots safety kit by St. John, to be prepared for any unexpected injuries or wounds.
5. Stock Up on Medication & Supplies
Go grocery shopping and medication shopping to stock up for the next few months. If your child is subject to illnesses like asthma, apnea or other breathing problems make sure you consult their doctors on how to prepare for the bad air qualities during the fire. Investing in accessories like an asthma puffer or inhaler is also important.
Mediband Medical Alert bracelets or asthma bands are another worthy investment for keeping your child safe in, particularly hazardous areas.
Additionally, these Fevermates cooling patches are also great for treating tender skin, sunburns or keeping children cool during the hotter months. Make sure you stalk up on all the products so that you don't run short during a time of need.
Also do not ignore the possibility of other illnesses like the flu, fevers and so on. A Fevermates stick-on temperature indicator pack can help monitor your child's temperature. They are extremely convenient to use and easy to carry around if you're on the move.
When it comes to keeping your children safe, it is always safer to be overprepared than under.
6. Talk to Them About Basic Fire Safety for Children
Teach your children the rules of basic fire safety. These might include:
- Keeping electronics away from sockets, for the time being.
- Reducing the amount of clutter around the house, and making sure flammable substances are kept away from the gas stove.
- Never leave a burning candle or flame unattended.
- Teaching them not to play with matches, candles, and lighters.
- Equipping the home with multiple fire safety tools like extinguishers, smoke detectors and more.
- Do not wet electric appliances.
- Do not turn on or use wet electronic appliances.
- Make sure all electronics and properly maintained.
7. Stay Indoors as Much as Possible
During this time it is essential to stay indoors as much as you can. So, we encourage you to say no to any demands for excessive outdoor play, physical training, and outdoor sporting activities during this time.
Pay attention to school closing announcements, and be on alert for information provided regarding the fires by your local authorities. Make sure your house is locked to be as airtight as possible, to prevent any polluted air from entering your home.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help When You Need it!
If you find yourself in need of help, don't be afraid to ask for it. Fire safety for children is important, but it's just as important for adults. Make sure your family is getting the support they need, and if you are personally struggling to cope with the situation, make sure you are as well. Talk to other concerned parents about your worries, and work as a community to fight a common struggle.
It's also extremely helpful to make a checklist of things you need to do to ensure fire safety. For example - a list of medical accessories, groceries and so on.
Check out our collection of useful, light-weight and effective monitoring tools for children and have them delivered right to your doorstep!