As a parent, there are a lot of things that I have to be responsible for, in the home, in terms of safety. One area is safety and care of gas appliances in our home.
We live in a house that has gas powered central heating and a gas stove top and we also rent our property so there are things that I make sure happen to ensure that we use those safely and that they are working correctly and are safe. We have our home inspected every year by a registered gas safety engineer, who checks the boiler and stove to make sure they are in good working order and safe, and gives our landlord a certificate, or recommends things are replaced or repaired if they are unsafe.
Because we have gas powered items in our home, I also make sure that we have Carbon Monoxide detectors fitted in the house (which is a legal requirement in a rented property anyway) because any item that uses carbon fuel, can pose a risk if they are faulty or not used properly and can emit carbon monoxide, which can kill. we check that the detectors are working by testing them, regularly and organise to have them replaced when they reach the end of their working life. The children know what they sound like and they know that if one of the alarms goes off, they need to come and find one of us, and leave the house, safely and quickly.
We are planning to have a gas fire installed next year, and that will come with it’s own safety issues that we will need to teach the children about. Not going near an open flame, not playing with objects near the fire, not turning the fire on or off without adult help, and I will also have to make sure that no clothing or toys are left near the fire, that could cause a hazard. I will also have to make sure that our chimney flue is clean and safe to be used.
We are also very strict about touching the gas stove top. We do let the children help with cooking, but we have taught them to be careful around flames from the gas burner, and not to touch them, and to be sensible when I am cooking at the stove or they are helping me. They also know never to turn the buttons to turn the stove on, without an adult helping them, or to play with them, because they could cause a gas leak. We have a special gas guard ring that we used when they were little, but now they are older and more able to listen and be careful, we don’t use it.
We have actually had a gas leak scare, where we had to leave the house and I had to act quickly and get the children out safely and work out what the leak was. Our next door neighbor was having some work done on her gas system, a new boiler and pipes installed and someone from the company she was using was doing the work, and had released a valve during the work they were doing, so some gas had escaped, and because we live in slightly older house and our mains gas supplies are connected, we could smell gas in our house, when we came home from school. Because I didn’t know where the gas leak was coming from, but could smell it, I immediately told the children to leave the house, and I made sure we didn’t turn on any electric items. The children know that if I ask them to leave the house, to stop everything, and go, that I mean business and they did as they were told and we went out to the other side of the street. I then went to my neighbor to tell her, and she explained what was happening, the gas technician came to check the gas smell and explained why it was there and reassured me that it was safe, not a leak, we opened all the windows to let the smell out, and we were able to come back into the house. So, it was a situation that was resolved and not actually serious, but didn’t know that and we couldn’t take the risk until we knew what was actually going on. Teaching the children about what to do and what not to do if we smell gas or think there is a gas leak in the house is something I have made an effort to enforce. They know not to turn on anything powered by electricity on, and that we need to open all the windows and doors and to leave the building safely.
It’s easy to forget that things like gas boilers, stoves, fires and other appliances need checking, maintaining and replacing regularly, to make sure they are safe to be used, and not a potential hazard in the home. It’s important to know how to check these items, (or to have someone who is qualified to do so come to check them) and how to use them safely and to teach children general awareness of how to be safe around these items and also what to do in an emergency or how to respond.
It’s pretty much routine in our house, how about in yours?
*this is a collaborative post*