Fire Prevention Lessons From The Kids

Fire Prevention is every firefighter's responsibility.  Traditionally in the fire service we take at least one full week in October proclaimed "Fire Prevention Week" and reach out to our community to educate them about home fire safety, family meeting places and always focus on smoke detectors, changing their batteries in the smoke detectors, using 911 and how to prevent fires from happening when possible.

My fire dept has two kindergarten through 5th grade schools, a religious childrens academy and a large childrens day care/pre school in town totalling about 2,000 children and that's where we focus each year on Fire Prevention Week.

 We Believe In Firefighters We Are Firefighters

It is amazing to me each year how open the children are to meeting the firefighters and learning about "stop, drop and roll", crawl low in smoke and their favorite is when the fire chief asks everyone if they know the number to call in an emergency.  They enthusiastically all yell "911".  Do we call 911 if there is smoke?  "YES".   Do we call 911 if we want to order a pizza? "NO".  Where do we call 911 from?  A neighbors house - Don't hide, go outside they all yell over eachother.  Does everyone have smoke detectors in their house? "YES!" and then there are 25 or so stories about mom was cooking and the smoke detector went off......  Everyone's homework that night is to tell a grown up in their house about changing the batteries in their smoke detectors.  We know they all do it too, because their parents let us know the kids are relentless until they do change them!

 Firefighters Personalized

After the kids are comfortable with us and having some fun, we have a couple of our firefighters put on their bunker gear one step at a time so the children can see we are the same not so scary firemen they were having fun with that may be coming to their house.  Then we get down with our gear on and SCBA hooked up and interact with the kids, crawling among them, giving them a chance to feel our gear, hear how we sound and ask the firefighters questions one on one.

 Firefighter Training and Prevention

The kids love the interaction.  They love to learn and their minds are wide open to what we have to say.  So many questions.  Some of our favorites are "What do you do if your firehouse is on fire", "What if my goldfish is on fire will his water put him out", "What if its nighttime and your sleeping and its dark out will your mommy still let you come to my fire".  Some of the braver kids love to try on the firefighter gear and say one day when they are bigger they want to be firefighters too.

Fire Prevention Week is a great time to educate the children in your community.  And firefighters can learn alot from the children as well.  As adults we can learn from children to keep our minds open to learning new things, remembering old lessons and to keep learning something new everyday of our lives. Learn to face what we fear, find out more about it and bring that new discovery back to someone else young and old, so they can keep learning too.