Before you leave your kids home alone for the first time, you need to make sure they are ready to meet a range of challenges, and that includes being able to use the fire extinguisher. To help you prepare your child, take a look at these tips:
1. Make sure your child can lift the fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers come in a range of sizes, and many of them can be too heavy and cumbersome for a child to lift. Have your child try to lift the extinguisher you have, and if it is too small, order a new smaller, more lightweight one before you leave your child home alone.
2. Invest in the right type of fire extinguisher
There are several different types of fire extinguishers, and they are all designed to be used with different types of fires. Some work best on electrical fires while others can effectively squelch oil fires. Make sure you have the type of extinguisher that is inline with the most prevalent risks around your home.
In most cases, rather than getting a fire extinguisher that falls only into one category, you can get fire extinguishers that cover a range of risks. However, if you opt to invest in more than one fire extinguisher rather than in one that can work for multiple purposes, make sure that your child knows which one to use for which purpose.
3. Show your child how to use the fire extinguisher
Take your child through the steps of using the fire extinguisher. Show him or her how to pull the trigger, where to aim and how to squeeze the lever.
If your child shoots the fire extinguisher through the flames, it will not put out the fire. Instead, you need to direct the extinguisher at the base of the flames. That way, the foam coming out of the extinguisher can smother the flames.
Help your child remember this by using the acronym PASS. PASS stands for pull the trigger, aim low, squeeze the lever and sweep the extinguisher back and forth.
4. Hold a trial run
Before leaving your child on his or her own, let him or her have a practise run with the fire extinguisher. That way, you can ensure he or she really understands how to use it, and your child will create a physical memory of how to use the extinguisher.
In an emergency, your child will be more likely to remember a hands on lesson than just a speech on safety.