By Chief Bryan Collins
Spokane Valley Fire Department
What should be my approach to addressing the natural curiosity my kids have with fire?
To cover your bases with the issue of fire safety, I recommend a three-step approach of “Es”: education, environment and example.
It starts with educating children that fire is a useful tool for adults, providing heat, light and energy. It’s not a toy, as fire can easily get out of control. Even adults must follow careful rules with fire.
The second part of this is creating a safe home environment. A responsible parent is in control of a child’s access to fire. A 2-year-old can operate a lighter or match – so keep those items far out of reach and teach kids they are dangerous to even touch. In addition, never leave a lit stove, candle or fireplace unattended.
Third, don’t forget that children learn by watching and imitating adults, so set a good example. Point out the safety precautions you use for cooking, heating and fire safety. Post emergency numbers by the telephone and teach children how and when to use them. Talk as a family about what to do in the case of a fire, emphasizing the importance of getting out, and then calling for help from another location.
Follow these three “Es” and your family will be well-prepared and properly precautioned regarding fire safety.
NOTE: A version of this article first appeared in the 2019 Liberty Lake Yearbook.