Five Fire Safety Tips To Follow When Leaving Your Kids With A Young Babysitter

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Young babysitters are a tremendous resource, and they can provide you with a much needed break from the little ones. However, if you are leaving your kids with a teen or pre-teen, you should have a quick rundown on fire safety before you leave the home. Keep the following tips in mind:

1. Make 911 calls effective

Before leaving your kids with a sitter, make sure the babysitter has a phone. If you don't have a landline, make sure the babysitter brings a cell phone with him or her or give him or her one of your cell phones.

To ensure 911 calls are effective, give the babysitter your address so he or she can relay it to the authorities in the case of a fire. Ideally, write it on a piece of paper in a prominent spot.

2. Give the babysitter a tour of the home

In case the babysitter needs to evacuate your home with your children, give him or her a tour so that it is easy to get out. For example, show the babysitter all of the entrances and exits, and make sure you have covered any potentially confusing window latches or locks so he or she doesn't get stuck in the home.

3. Order pizza rather than cooking at home

If you hire a skilled nanny or a college student to watch your kids, they can likely cook dinner and keep an eye on a toddler. Don't expect a young babysitter to be able to juggle all of that. To ensure no cooking-related fires happen, give the babysitter money to order a pizza rather than expecting him or her to cook.

4. Show the babysitter how to work the fire extinguisher

If you decide to let the babysitter cook, make sure you also give him or her at least a cursory lesson in how to use your fire extinguisher. Grease fires, the most common type of kitchen fires, typically spread if doused with water. Instead, they need to be smothered by the contents of a fire extinguisher.

To show your babysitter how the extinguisher works, review the acronym PASS with him or her. P stands for "pull" the pin. A refers to "aiming" at the base of the fire -- shooting at the flames will not work at all. Finally, S and S stand for "squeeze" and "sweep". Squeeze the handle and sweep the extinguisher back and forth.

Keep in mind young babysitters may have a hard time lifting heavy fire extinguishers so consider investing in a smaller, lightweight one for the safety of your children.

5. Provide a white sheet to babysitters in apartment buildings

Finally, if you live in an apartment building, show the babysitter how to feel the apartment door for heat. If it is hot, advise the babysitter not the leave the apartment, but instead, advise her to hang a white sheet out the window, indicating that people are stuck in the unit. Leave a white sheet for this purpose in a convenient spot next to a window.

For more information on fire safety, contact a company like Echo Fire Protection.