written by: Natasha Stiller
• edited by: Wendy Finn
• updated: 4/5/2012
It's important to teach kids to be aware of their environment and safe in the event of a fire. My students read books about firefighters, about fire safety, what to do in an emergency, know whom to call in case of a fire, and what is necessary to do if there is a fire -- without scaring them.
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Some great books to read are: Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons, and Stop, Drop and Roll by Margery Cuyler. There are many others, but these are very child friendly and have very vibrant pictures that allow ample opportunity for further discussion regarding the topic of fire safety.
One project we work on is drawing a map of our community, making sure we locate any and all fire houses. We label other areas that could also be called if we needed to phone 911. These maps can be used for display at homes for children and numbers for local police, hospital, and fire department can be included.
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In Home and In School
You can also have each child draw a picture of their house, making sure to locate any possible fire escape routes. This leads to discussion at home of the family fire escape plan, which many families don’t have. A fun activity to add after children map out their own homes is to take legos and make homes and ensure that students together can share how many escape routes there are in the home. They can also take printed home plans from local builders and locate all windows/doors, etc. that would allow for a possible escape route.
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Students role-play scenarios of how to act if a fire did occur and follow through with what needs to be done. This is best accomplished in small groups, each group can have a turn to role-play different scenarios. These can be assigned to groups and they have to figure out how to enact these in the classroom. The viewing students then get to critique the other group, “Did they stop, drop, and roll?" “Were they responsible in the way they handled this scenario?" This offers a very positive role-playing environment and students always have fun.
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If possible, we try to get a fireman to come into the classroom to discuss what they do. We’ve even toured to a local fire station to see their facilities, trucks, clothing, etc. The students always enjoy seeing the environment of these everyday heroes.
At the end of this study children can make their own fire trucks out of boxes. This is a messy project, so all students need a smock or large t-shirt.
medium to large box
black and white construction paper
The box should be larger than the student with the top and bottom cut off. This works best if there is a triangular area at each corner left and not cut out to ensure the box stays sturdy after painting. Then, pain the box red. Household paint works well and dries quickly.
While the paint is drying children can start cutting out their wheels and steering wheels out of black and white construction paper. You could also have these already pre-cut. Paper plates work well, if you want to eliminate the process of cutting.
The paper plates can be painted black, and glued on. The steering wheel can be the outside edge of a paper plate, painted black. Once all items are glued on, the students can poke holes on the right and left sides of the fire truck to inert the twine. The pieces need to be tied on the inside. This allows for students to carry the boxes on their shoulders.
Once everyone is finished, they can march in a parade of their fire trucks. This always is a fun activity with large groups of kids. Parents can come in and watch the final product.
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Once the Lesson is Over
Once the mini-lesson is over children have a basic understanding of how to dial 911, recite their contact information, who they are calling, how to describe why they are calling, and immediate actions that must be taken for proper safety. If parents include the lessons in their home, they’ve devised an escape route in their own home and know how to navigate through any floor plan to find the nearest escape route. Students always have fun in the process and can take their fire trucks home to play.