Introducing Emergency Safety To Children

Teaching your children what emergency safety is, can mean the difference between preparedness and chaos. Here’s a great guide on how to teach children emergency safety.

by Benjamin Hadlock | Benjamin Hadlock is Vice President of BlowHard Fans, an innovator in industrial fans for firefighters. For more than a decade, Hadlock has been a driving force in BlowHard Fans’ strategic journey in research and quantification of fan performance as part of product development. He has been instrumental in relationship building and information sharing within the industry. 

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Teaching your little ones how to survive in the world is the most important task of parenting. When it comes to educating them on emergencies, knowing how and when can be difficult. Walking the line of what material is age appropriate and the best approach, calls for some careful consideration. Here is a brief rundown of how to introduce children to emergency preparedness.

red and white children playing road signage
Photo by Roly Vasquez on

#1 Explain what a crisis is.

While it may be tempting to protect young ones by downplaying seriousness, it’s essential they learn to recognize dangerous situations and know how to react. Start by reviewing what constitutes as crisis. Is Mommy on the floor not talking an emergency? How about a sibling picking on you? Instructing them on which scenarios can be identified as an emergency is often the first step, depending on age. 

#2 Develop a family communication plan.

Next, it’s advised to develop a family communication plan. Have your child memorize a parent’s phone number to call when something goes wrong. Around 4 to 5 years old, a child is typically developmentally ready to remember all the digits. It can help to turn the numbers into a modified version of a lullaby or song. Also, having children learn to recite their full names and address is another step to emergency readiness. However, they must also be taught not to give such information to strangers. 

#3 Teach them how to dial the emergency services number.

After they’ve learned how to contact you, it’s time to teach them how to properly contact emergency services; in the U.S. it’s known as 9-1-1, but in other countries it may be something else. Begin by describing what the service is and how it works. Explain that it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to call as well as what to say. You can role-play scenarios. Use simple words, avoid medical terms, and help children understand the seriousness while not frightening them. Make it clear that calling 911 is never a joke or game and that there are times when it’s more important to first get to safety.

#4 Teach fire safety drills.

This is a great opportunity to bring up fire safety, since getting out of the house can be more imperative than calling. Organize home fire drills and clearly indicate escape routes throughout the house with the relevant fire exit signs – emergency exit signs post Grenfell Tower are so important. Run these fire drills routinely as your child ages, while exploring additional fire safety guidelines. To make the event of a fire, hearing alarms and seeing firefighters less scary, you can take the little one on a firehouse tour.

#5 Put together an emergency kit.

Other preparedness advice would be to create an emergency kit, together as a family. Explain why the items are necessary and what each one does. The same goes for a first-aid kit. Teaching basic first-aid skills can start young. If your children are still too little, instruct them on how to show an adult, such as a babysitter, where it’s located in case of injuries at home.

The Takeaway

Encourage your children to talk and ask questions throughout each stage. How well they understand could mean the difference between life and death. For further tips on emergency safety, please see the accompanying resource.

This infographic was created by BlowHard Fans, a manufacturer of fire ventilation fans

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