Children's fire safety

December 28, 2011 1:15:50 PM PST
Most kids learn to stop, drop and roll but that's only if they're on fire. If the house is on fire, they need to get out, and parents have to teach them how.

On March 7th, 2007, 8 children died in a fire in the Bronx. Across the country, nearly 500 children under the age of 14 die in home fires every year. Preparing your kids may help save their lives

Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso is the director of fire safety education for the New York City fire department. He says it is best to start teaching your kids about fire safety as early as the age of 4.

First, practice fire drills. You can dim the lights, and make it like a game - but give the kids a warning.

"You never want to put out all the lights, and surprise them at 2 in the morning. Tell them you're doing the drill" said Lieutenant Mancuso.

Then teach your kids to get low and go. Get down low on your knees and put your hands on the wall, so you know where you are going.

Practice learning which door is the door to get out. The doors to other bedrooms can all look alike if it is dark and you are scared. Also feel the door to see if it is cool or hot. If it is cool, that means there is no heat and you can go out.

Once the kids get outside, plan to have a meeting spot. It can be by a tree, by a lamp post or even the building next door - anything that's permanent.

Lieutenant Mancuso says you should practice the drill once a month so it is second nature to your kids.

"You know life is busy, but it's important to make time to do that and I think that it was very valuable for them to know and for me to know," he said.

And when it comes to fire prevention, the fire department recently created a website for kids - it's called "FDNY Fire-Smart". The games teach kids to find hidden fire hazards. They also learn more about firefighters so they are not afraid.

For more information about FDNY Fire-Smart, click here.