As a babysitter, you have a big responsibility—you are responsible for the safety of the children you sit with and for the property of your employer. To help with this responsibility, I have some suggestions:
Prevention Before a Fire Starts:
When you arrive at the house, ask for the following information… (in Pleasant Hills, all emergency services can be reached by dialing 9-1-1).
- Poison Control Center phone number 1-800-222-1222
- The full address of the residence
- A phone number where the parents can be reached
- Familiarize yourself with the house… (how do doors & windows lock, etc?)
- Ask if they have a fire escape plan…do the children know it?..have they practiced
- the plan?...where is the meeting place?
- Where are the exits from the house? (know at least 2 ways out)…
- Find out where the smoke detector is. Check to see if it works. Ask the children if they know what it sounds like.
- After the parents leave, walk around with the children. Check the kitchen to ensure the stove & coffee pot is off, etc…
- Check to ensure they are no lit cigarettes or candles left behind, etc…
- The Pleasant Hills Fire Inspector recommends that young babysitters do not use
- cooking or heating stoves.
What to do if a Fire Occurs!!
- Your first responsibility is to get the children out!
- Never place yourself or others in jeopardy by attempting to extinguish a fire.
- Don’t waste time getting the children dressed; wrap them up in a blanket.
- Once the children are in a safe place, call the fire department (9-1-1)
- Once you’re out, do not re-enter the building!
- If you smell/see smoke, or hear the smoke detector, sound a warning. SHOUT FIRE!
- If you can’t see, crawl close to the floor, where the fresh air is.
- Close all doors behind you. Call 9-1-1 from a safe place, like a neighbor’s house.
- If you smell gas, get out; do not turn on or off any lights or electrical appliances. Call
- 9-1-1 from a safe place.
Babysitting in an Apartment Building
- If you are babysitting in an apartment building and the fire alarm goes off, check the
- door for heat. If it’s not warm, open and check the hallway for smoke, if clear, close the door behind you and go to the nearest exit.
- Pull the fire alarm…use the stairs to exit the building…NEVER use the elevator…take the apartment key with you.
- If the door is warm or if there is heavy smoke in the hallway, it may be safer to remain in the apartment. Close the door and stuff a towel at the bottom of it.
- Call 9-1-1 and let them know your location. Hang a white sheet or towel out the window, or use a flashlight to signal your location.
- If a fire should start in you apartment, stay low, get the kids out, close all doors behind you, especially the front door.
- Pull the fire alarm on the way out while you exit the building.
If you clothing or children’s clothing catches fire, smother the flames with a towel, blanket or other thick material OR stop/drop/& roll.
For further information, contact Jim Rush, Pleasant Hills Fire Inspector at 412-292-5118 or e-mail me at