Teaching fire safety to children can save lives and it’s never too early to start teaching them the basics.

“The biggest thing is, at night, keep your bedroom doors shut. Bedroom doors will keep the smoke and heat out quite a bit,” said Arkansas City Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe. “It increases your chances for survival.”

Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s website.

For the best protection from fire, make sure the batteries in smoke alarms are checked every six months.

“Make sure there are working smoke detectors on each floor of your home and outside of each bedroom. Some experts suggest putting smoke detectors on the inside of the bedroom, as well,” Wolfe said.

Children should know what a smoke alarm sounds like and how to respond the alarm correctly. Teach them to get low and get out when they hear it.

A child who is taught ahead of time will have a better chance of being safe in an emergency. “First, get out of the house,” Wolfe said.

He also said not to worry about pets — the fire department will tend to them as they can.

Teach children how to feel doors, doorknobs and cracks around doors with the backs of their hands to see how hot it is on the other side of the doors.

Together, have the family plan and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of the house in case of a fire. It is important to have an alternate exit in case one is blocked by fire, said the State Fire Marshal’s website.

Choose a place to meet outside that is a safe distance away from the home.

Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, in case of emergency, and make sure to know how it works. Use the mnemonic “PASS” and follow these simple steps:

  • P — Pull the pin.
  • A — Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • S — Squeeze the trigger.
  • S — Sweep the base of the fire.