“That was 9-1-1 calling.”
This was the response I received from Ian when I asked him who had called one early October morning.
“What?!” I said in a surprised tone.
“I guess Malcolm called them,” was the response I received from Ian. Needless to say, after that phone call we had a long talk reiterating that you call 9-1-1 only in emergencies. I must say that was the most memorable fire safety lesson I ever had with my boys! However, your lessons don’t have to be as memorable. 🙂
Fire prevention is one of the topics that we need to teach our children annually when we home school here in Ohio, so how do we do that? I have gathered some resources for you and will categorize them according to general grade levels. I am also listing some of the activities we have done concerning this topic.
For All Family Members
Have smoke detectors in children’s bedrooms and hallways. Studies have shown that in 2/3 of residential fires where children have been injured there were no working smoke detectors. Change the batteries semi-annually. We change the batteries with the Daylight Savings Time dates. Make sure the detectors are working at that time. Show the smoke detectors that are located throughout your house to your child(ren) and push the alarm so that all are familiar with what it sounds like so they recognize the sound in case of an emergency.
Practice exit routes in your home. Have several ways to exit from your home in case one of the routes is no longer an option. Pick a meeting place for all of you to meet. Make sure it is a few houses away to avoid the emergency vehicles. Discuss getting out of the house and NOT trying to find the pets or going back into the house for ANY reason. Practice touching the door to check and see if it is hot. If so, children should not exit that way. Show the smoke detectors that are located throughout your house to your child(ren) and push the alarm so that all are familiar with what it sounds like. Discuss various possible exits in the event of a fire and practice leaving by way of each of these exits.
Purchase fire ladders and put near the window or under the bed. Be sure and practice using them and climbing out the window. Are you ready for another McAfee fire prevention story? One morning when Malcolm was about 6 I saw him outside in his pajamas. “That’s funny.” I thought to myself. “I don’t remember seeing him come down the steps and I certainly wouldn’t have let him go outside in his pajamas!”
I was starting to become alarmed as I realized the back door was locked and he couldn’t have gotten out that way. When I called him to see how he had managed that feat he said he had been practicing jumping out his 1.5 floor bedroom window. Whaaat?! “It was easy, Mom. I did it jut like you told me to in case there was a fire. I just hung onto the window and dropped down.”
Did you know that children under the age of 5 make up 22% of residential fire-related deaths? It’s a good idea to practice fire safety prevention with your preschoolers when doing activities with your older students.
Preschool Practice crawling on the floor. Drop Low and Go is a good way to remember this in the event of a fire and there is smoke in the house. Drape a sheet or blanket across two chairs and pretend that this is smoke. You can also use a jump rope to raise and lower “the smoke” and can even have the children scoot on their bellies. I am sure the preschoolers are better at this than other family members!
Elementary, Middle School Practice Stop, Drop, and Roll by having your student try the technique. The above-mentioned preschool activity can be done as well. Be sure to pick a meeting place that all family members are familiar with and would be away from the emergency vehicles. Somewhere like next door would be a place I’d recommend.
Discuss dialing 9-1-1, but for heaven’s sake, don’t let them do it. 🙂 Practice what to do as you pretend to call the emergency staff. (Your name, your emergency house fire, and your address) If you do not have a land line anymore, where is a place your children can find your cellphone? Be sure to keep your phone in the same place every time so your children can find it.
Design fire safety posters and hang them on the refrigerator or in your kitchen or schoolroom. These are great reminders of what to do in case of a fire emergency.
Plan a trip to your local fire house. This is important because the firemen will put on their suits and show the children there is nothing to be scared of and they are there to rescue your children if needed. They may also allow your children to go through the smokehouse if they have one available. The smokehouse is a trailer that is filled with “smoke” and children crawl through it to see what it would be like if there was a real fire.
I have another article about fire safety that has books and activities to aid you with this topic of study. Click here Additionally, here are some websites that have great information. They have online games, coloring sheets, and word searches to reinforce your discussions. There are also some great tips for safety that I didn’t cover that are on the first website.
Sparky the Fire Dog
Rescue 1: Fire Safety for Kids