Fire Safety for Babysitters

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 Tom Bonura, Pleasant Hills Fire Code Official at 412-848-2559 or e-mail thomas[email protected]