Children should be taught early the importance of fire safety. The elements of fire hazards and fire cleanup should be impressed upon them as early as they can understand (sometimes earlier than that). This should be done in a way that does not traumatizes them, but teaches them respect for fire as it is not something that should be fooled around with. Fires happen typically at night when everyone is asleep. Children are wont to panic if they are not properly instructed on proper fire safety techniques. This knowledge can even be made into a game for the older kids who understand. Associating the safe handling of fire with rewards is a good way to start the educational process.
The biggest killer of fires is not the flames, but the smoke. The first rule of fire safety is for the children to stay low as they move through the house. Smoke is lighter than air so it rises. If the child can remember to stay low they are more likely to survive the fire. Teaching children to check doors for heat is the next most important part. They should first test the door for heat. If the door is not hot, they should then test the door knob (which is more likely to be hot since it is metal). If neither is hot, the room behind the door is likely clear. Children should know where all possible escape routes are and know how to exit them before looking for their parents. Children should know how to escape the house on their own without the help of their parents.
Preparedness is the best course of action for parents to take in case of a fire. One of the biggest parts of fire safety is for children to learn self reliance. Their parents might not always be available to save them. If they are in a precarious situation, they should know how to get out of it. Organizing fire drills for the neighborhood is a good idea. It fosters community as well as education for children. The best possible occurrence is never having to use the fire safety techniques, but if the children are self reliant then they will be more likely to survive the experience.
All children should know to dial 911 (or the local emergency number) if there is a fire. Knowing this piece of fire safety information can potentially save many lives.