News release text
Knowing what to do in an emergency was the key message for visitors to Thames-side fire station’s special open day event on Monday, (20 May).
The station welcomed about 50 parents and young children from the Little Pebbles Children’s Centre to the station in Coldharbour Road, Northfleet. Stark demonstrations showed how quickly kitchen blazes can break out and what can happen when you pour water onto a cooking oil fire. There was also practical advice about planning escape routes and what to do in the event of a fire.
A crash car display and the range of fire fighting equipment, including fire engines and kit used to respond to other emergencies including road crashes, was also on display.
Firefighter Julie Taylor, organiser of the event, said: “Many parents talk to their children about how and when to dial 999 but there are other steps we should all take to keep our families safe and calm in an emergency.
“Babies, young children and older people are most at risk if a fire breaks out in their home. It’s not the heat but the smoke which is most dangerous to them, as their bodies are less able to cope. Just three breaths of fire smoke can be fatal, even for a young and healthy adult.
“Smoke and flames can destroy your home and everything in it but give yourself the extra time needed to get out safely by fitting working smoke alarms on every floor of your home and testing them weekly.”
According to Fire Kills, you’re four times more likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working. In fact, 37 per cent of fire deaths happened in homes without smoke alarms.
Julie added: “This event gave us the opportunity to say to parents, don’t avoid talking to your children because you don’t want to frighten them. If a fire starts without an adult around, children need to know exactly what to do. If your smoke alarm wakes you up, shout to wake everyone else up. Then get everyone together, follow your escape plan and get out of your home. Once everyone is out of the building, phone 999 and ask for the fire service.”
Sara Irving, Community Development Worker at Little Pebbles Children’s Centre, said: “Our families thoroughly enjoyed the event and displays that Kent Fire and Rescue Service put on. The chip pan demonstration had a huge impact on our families and was a talking point when we returned to Little Pebbles and as always, the children loved being in the fire engines and sitting on the Firebike.
“Staff and families were very impressed with the way fire service staff were able to engage and interact with the very young children. Everyone came away with a greater knowledge of fire safety and the event highlighted to our families the many services that Kent Fire and Rescue Service provide. We are all looking forward to the next fire safety event.”
Parents from the Little Pebbles Children’s Centre came from a range of ethnic backgrounds, many who attended the event were Eastern European.
39 year-old, Jaz Dehr of Peacock Street, Gravesend who visited the station with her family said: "We've passed the station many times but I never realised how much was going on. The Argo-cat was really interesting - I guess you'd never usually see it unless you were being rescued. It was a great opportunity to learn about all the different services we don’t always see."
Jaz Dehr with her children Callum and Rohan
You can help protect your family from fire:
Make a fire escape plan that everyone in your home knows
Keep exits clear so that you can get out quickly if there’s a fire
Make sure everyone can find the keys for doors and windows easily
Do not stop to investigate the fire or to collect valuables or pets
Close any doors which are open, and only open the doors you need to go through (this will help stop the fire spreading)
Check doors with the back of your hand. If a door is warm, don’t open it – the fire is on the other side
If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor as the air will be cleanest there
Take extra care in the kitchen – cooking accidents account for more than half of fires in homes. Never leave young children alone in the kitchen
Never leave lit candles in rooms that nobody is in or in rooms where children are on their own
Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child’s bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen. This may well help save their life if there is a fire
Keep matches and lighters where children can’t see or reach them