The Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services (WFPS) are sharing advice for parents on teaching their children the rules of fire and that it is dangerous.

Earlier this week, WFPS responded to a call in the 200 block of Grassie Boulevard. After an initial investigation of the cause of the fire, it is suggested that the fire was an accident, the end result of a child using a lighter.

"Curiosity and fire is a very natural thing for a kid," says Derek Grignon, a public education officer. "They don't understand the full potential of the dangers of fire at that time, but it is kind of an interesting thing that they want to explore at times, not all kids but some. So, it's a natural instinct for them to want to experiment with fire. The important thing is for parents or the guardians, or whoever educates them."

Talking to children is the first tip Grignon shares, indicating what the dangers of lighters and matches are and what children should do when they see them lying around or if they see their friends playing with them. Having these conversations helps kids understand that fire is something that adults deal with.

The next tip Grignon reveals is to familiarize everyone in the household with what the smoke alarm is and what it means.

"When the smoke alarm is sounding, you kind of have to have an idea of what to do ahead of time. They need to talk to their kids about smoke alarms, they need to test their smoke alarms and make sure the kids hear them so they know what they mean, usually, it's three loud beeps. That's all part of that fire escape plan for the home"

Knowing when the house is on fire is the indicator of the larger fire safety tip, creating a home escape plan. When creating a fire escape plan, Grignon advises to first prepare for smoke in the house to stay low, know of two exits in every room in the house and have a meeting place for the family to know if everyone made it out.

"You can get into more detail by drawing a fire safety escape plan using an overhead drawing of the house and the rooms and all the exits, and you can get the kids to do that and it can be like a little project they can do and then you need to practice it, practice a couple of times a year and talk through anything that goes wrong. Talk to your kids about specific things about the house that they need to know if they want to get out."

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Grignon says that by talking about all possibilities, parents or guardians put that knowledge into their children's minds for use if they ever need it. They know the plan and stick to it instead of panicking and not knowing what to do in case of an emergency.

"They don't know what to do and they get excited and panic. So, a lot of kids unfortunately hide, they get scared, and they hide under beds. That's another issue that parents need to talk to their kids about if there's smoke and if the smoke alarms go off, they have to get out as soon as they can. It's just that type of stuff, it seems like common sense but if you've never talked about it or planned about it, it becomes an issue when the emergency happens."

Most people involved in fire evacuation situations tend to exit the room the same way they entered, however, that may not be possible, that's why secondary exit strategies are valuable factors.

"We've seen that even with adults there have been fires in theatres where people all leave through the main exit. Meanwhile, there are emergency exits everywhere, three or four in each theatre room. It's human nature to go for the way you came in."

Grignon commented on the efficiency that schools have when executing fire drills during the school day, saying that all kids can get out in under five minutes. Fire drills at school also allow children to bring the conversation home so that fire escape plans can be made there as well.

"You can go to our webpage and there are some resources there, there are a lot of resources on YouTube if you look up fire escape plans. I'll be honest, there are very good videos and instructional and stuff like that on there. They can also look at the NFPA site, that's the National Fire Protection Association, they've got all kinds of recourses. If you're an educator out there, we do come to schools and talk to children. If they ever want to schedule a meeting with me, they can reach me on the public education department of the City of Winnipeg website and we can book, they're about an hour-long presentation where I talk about fire safety and the different things they can do and answer questions for the kids."