Firefighters call for school holiday safety

PARENTS and caregivers on the Fraser Coast are being encouraged to teach their children to be fire safe these Easter school holidays.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services community engagement acting manager Kevin Reading said now was the time to reinforce basic holiday fire safety rules as well as develop and practice a fire escape plan.

"Last year, there were 1904 house fires in Queensland and statistics show a significant increase in fires during school holiday periods," Mr Reading said.

"It is never too early to start teaching children about fire risks and safety.

"Children can be exposed to risks at any time, so it is important they understand as early as possible how to recognise if a situation involving fire is getting out of control and what to do."

Mr Reading said there were two steps that could increase chances of survival during a house fire.

"Step one is to have a working smoke alarm, to wake you up or alert you to a fire," he said.

"Step two is to have a practiced fire escape plan, to get you out.

"A house can become well involved with smoke and fire within a few minutes and every second counts when exiting your home.

"I'd encourage parents and caregivers to use the holiday break as an opportunity to develop and practice a fire escape plan.

"Remember to detail a safe assembly point outside of the home, like the letterbox, where all members of the household can meet after evacuating.

"Ensure children have the plan explained to them clearly and have practiced the process with the family."

Mr Reading also urged families to be extra careful when cooking with junior chefs during the school holidays.

"Cooking fires are the most common cause of all house fires and last year, 860 house fires started in the kitchen," he said.

"Supervision is paramount if cooking around children.

"Never leave stoves or barbecues unattended.

"All residents should have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket accessible in the kitchen and know how to use them.

"If a kitchen fire does occur and can't be safely put out, residents are urged to switch off the appliance, leave immediately, and call 000 from a safe place."

Mr Reading encouraged children to join Blazer's Brigade, an online educational resource featuring Blazer, the Fire Safety Koala.

With Blazer's help through a series of activities, children will learn important fire safety messages and manoeuvres, including 'get down low and go, go, go' and 'stop, drop and roll'.

Visit www.qfes.qld.gov.au/kids/.



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