Teaching Children Fire Safety
Your children can be either the worlds best fire marshal or your biggest fire hazard depending on what you teach them or neglect to teach them about fire safety. Just as Smoky the Bear used to say “its up to you to prevent forest fires,” it is up to us as parents to help prevent home fires and that starts with our children.
Fire safety includes not just what to do in case of a fire, but how to prevent fires from starting in the home. There are so many incredible resources to enable us to teach them on their level with accurate and effective information. As the paranoid mother of 4, I have had a lot of practice drilling fire safety and prevention into my children and would like to share some of our family’s personal favorites.
DVD’s on Fire Safety
There are some awesome DVD’s on fire safety that won’t terrify your children. Our family favorites include Bill Nye the Science guys Safety first videos and Fire Safety with Timon and Pumba. Luckily these usually come in a set from Disney. Bill works on all educational levels for explaining and demonstrating the Why’s of Fire Safety. Timon and Pumba though have a knack (albeit annoying to most parents) for presenting safety tips in jingles and rhymes that literally stick in your head. My daughter was singing their “3 feetfrom the heat” jingle this morning and we haven’t watched that DVD in months, let alone even have our heaters out yet.
TV shows – Rescue Hero’s (Qubo Channel) http://www.qubo.com/index.php?path=show&id=19
Workbooks and Coloring Books
If you fire station holds a community open house you’ll get tons of these. These open houses are a great way to get your family excited about fire safety, comfortable with the men in uniform, and have a great family outing as well. A lot of these books and activities are available online for free. If you really want to nail preparedness down then there’s a ton of them around disaster preparedness all of which include fire safety.
See the sites listed below for more downloads
Online Games and Websites for Fire Safety
The internet is the favorite play toy of every computer savvy child. Take advantage of their ability to zone out and completely focus on what’s on the computer screen to teach them fire safety, or even disaster safety
http://www.ready.gov/parents-teachers – FEMA’s website for parents and teachers with resources for teaching children about preparedness
www.sparky.org – Sparky the Firedog invites kids to learn about fire safety through interactive web games, downloadable coloring pages, and other activities
www.smokeybear.com/kids – Smokey the Bear helps kids learn about fire safety through an interactive web site with games and activities
www.ready.gov/kids/fun-games – FEMA’s website for kids with games, comic strips, coloring pages, and music
http://www.usfa.fema.gov/kids/flash.shtm – US Fire Administration’s website specifically for fire safety
http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/ready -Sesame Street videos for kids teach about having an emergency plan and being prepared; also has games, coloring pages, and more
www.justincasearizona.com/educator-toolkit/toolkits.asp – memory game, scavenger hunt, coloring pages, songs, worksheets, home hazard hunt checklist
http://www.neok12.com/Natural-Disasters.htm – disaster education videos and games
Magic School Bus has fire safety quizzes and games on their site – look at games and quizzes, and parent/teacher lesson plans and parties
AreaVibes has even more resources broken down by age.
Books for Teaching Fire Safety
Readingshould be a big part of every kids life. So here are some good fire safety reads:
- Kids Guide to Staying Safe Around Fire by Maribeth Boelts
- Magic School Bus To the rescue: Forest Fire by Joanna Cole
Scouting Resources for Fire Safety
I love scouting! They aren’t kidding when they say a scout is always prepared. There’s a reason for that – merit badges, belt loops, and pins. There are so many ways that you can teach safety and preparedness skills and lifestyle to your children and family through scouting. The best part is that everything is available online for free. Just because you’re child isn’t in scouts or you have all girls, doesn’t mean you can’t go online, print off the requirements and their handy worksheet and complete the merit badge yourself. However you can only get the patches, pins and belt loops if you’re a scout.
Citizenship belt loop and pin- http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Cub_Scout_Citizenship
Webelos – Ready man – http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Readyman/
Emergency Preparedness Award – all scouts http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Emergency_Preparedness_Award – all scouts
Emergency Preparedness Merit badge –http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Emergency_Preparedness
Fire Safety Merit Badge – http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Fire_Safety
Firem’n chit- (certified to carry matches and build fires) http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Firem%27n_Chit
Fire Safety Museums
Yes there are fire safety museums, at least in Portland. Chances are if you live in or near a large city you probably have one too. Portland’s happens to be my favorite price – FREE!
Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum at the Historic Belmont Firehouse
900 SE 35th Ave, Portland, OR www.jeffmorrisfoundation.org
Local Fire Station – the Ultimate in Fire Safety
Everyone has one of these and one thing firemen are passionate about sharing is fire safety. After all it’s a high stress job and the more they can share and change the community’s habits the less high stress situations they have to face. They also have the amazing first hand knowledge and experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Kids adore firemen so a visit to your local fire station is like visiting the local superhero hide out. They will usually accommodate any group from preschool to high school to families. I’ve even heard of some fire stations doing birthday parties! All you have to do is call and schedule an appointment, and then be prepared to be left behind if they get a call while you’re there.