With more children at home in the summer, fire officials stress the importance of going over fire safety tips

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More children are about to be spending a lot of time at home with the fast-approaching summer break, and fire officials say now is a good time to go over summer safety tips with them.

If your child is old enough to be home alone, firefighters say make sure you have a plan in place if there is any type of emergency that comes up.

"You want to teach them about learning what the smoke detector, what that sound when it goes off what they need to do," said Columbia Fire Department Public Information Officer Brick Lewis. "You want to have an evacuation plan already planned and mapped out, already having gone over it but to review it in summer months in case they are home alone."

Many home fires start in the kitchen, so reviewing what materials are microwave friendly is important, and hiding all matches and lighters can also prevent any issues.

Grills are also a common cooking appliance in the summer, and firefighters say children should always be supervised when out back around them.

"Just like you would inside the home around the stove, we want to keep that barrier, five to ten feet, away from the grilling surface from your children," said Lewis.

Lewis adds it's not just about setting the rules and hiding unsafe items, but explaining them so your child understands the consequences.

"You do want to talk to them about that, the reasons why you need to keep those locked away," said Lewis. "It's not just taking away from them, it's educating them and explaining to them why so they understand better that that's the safest thing to do."

Another type of call that rises in the summer is the prank phone call. Fire officials ask that you stress the importance of 911 -- but that it's only to be used in an emergency situation.

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