Fire safety for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Senior Firefighter Simon de Silva discusses fire safety for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Topics discussed  include hazards to be aware of in winter, mitigation strategies, fire safety equipment for the home, calling Triple (000) and where to find helpful resources.

Senior Firefighter Simon de Silva has been with Fire and Rescue NSW for sixteen years. He has been involved with numerous emergency deployments across the state and was a member of the FRNSW COVID Incident Management Team during the height of the pandemic. Simon is extremely passionate about creating the framework for operational firefighters to provide home fire safety programs to people of diverse needs and has worked with a number of organisations such as Guide Dogs NSW and Collaborating 4 Inclusion to promote and increase fire safety awareness.

Q: How do I know if my smoke alarm is a 10-year alarm?
A: There will be a date stamp on the alarm. If there is no date stamp on the alarm, treat it as an old alarm and replace it.

Q: What should I teach my child to say to emergency services? He can’t read enough for the NRS but probably won’t catch anything much from a 000 call operator. We practise giving our address and location. 
A: That really does depend on the age of the child and their level of speech and their level of understanding. So my son at the age of 4 understood very quickly what it was to dial 000 and to report a fire but that really is dependent on the age of the child and makes it a little bit difficult to provide specific advice. Really important as well:
add key phone numbers to yours and your child’s mobile phone, such as emergency services, the NRS SMS phone number, neighbour’s phone numbers, grandparents’ phone numbers. The Emergency+ app or the NRS app could be a solution. 

Q: When do you recommend families start teaching their kids about fire and their fire escape plan?
A: It is never too early to teach them the really basic things like get down low and go, go, go. This is basically to get down low to stay underneath the smoke because smoke rises, and the fresh air will be pushed down towards the ground. So get down low, stay underneath the smoke, and go, go, go, which means – go to the letterbox.
More information: ACTF&R Fire Education: Get Down Low & Go, Go, Go!

Brigade Kids – An Initiative by Fire and Rescue NSW

Resources designed for children. Videos include:

  • What should I do if someone gets burnt?
  • What should I do if my house is on fire?
  • What if my clothes catch on fire?
  • If there is a fire, can I take my pet or favourite toy?

Please note: These videos are not captioned.

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Brigade Kids – Auslan videos

  • Childcare, Pre-school and Kindergarten: Pre Ed Firefighter Session
  • For Years 1 and 2 (Stage 1): Fire Ed 1 Firefighter Session.
  • For Years 3 and 4 (Stage 2): Fire Ed 2 Firefighter Session
  • Fire Hazards at Home (without fire and smoke development)
  • Fire Hazards at Home (with fire and smoke development)

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Brigade Kids – Educator resources

Teacher resources for children with diverse learning needs.

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The Emergency+ app is a free app developed by Australia’s emergency services and their Government and industry partners.

The app uses GPS functionality built into smart phones to help a Triple Zero (000) caller provide critical location details required to mobilise emergency services.

Visit the website: 

Co-designed and tested with people with disability, Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) enables people to self-assess their preparedness, capabilities and support needs and develop a personal emergency plan for how they will: (a) manage their support needs in emergencies; and (b) act together with their support network before, during, and after a disaster.

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Download P-CEP workbook: