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Fire Prevention Week: Free Classroom Resources!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 -- Madison Michell

For young and old alike, Fire Prevention Week is a great reminder of the importance of fire safety! Best practices should be taught early and often to ensure young children are avoiding potentially hazardous situations and prepared to react in case of emergency—both at school and at home. During October 9-15 of this year, we encourage you to dedicate some time to brushing up on safety practices with your students as part of the official Fire Prevention Week.

Learn why we celebrate each year and how you can help educate students on fire safety by downloading our free Fire Prevention Week Toolkit from EducationCity. This month’s resources includes Fact Sheets, Activities, and critical thinking questions known as ThinkIts to help review fire safety with your students. In addition, as you plan an upcoming lesson, don’t forget to highlight these five best practices for avoiding and responding to a fire:

1. Routinely test smoke alarms

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has officially sponsored Fire Prevention Week since its inception in 1922, and each year selects an annual theme. This year, NFPA continues its three-year effort to educate the public on essential smoke alarm safety. As part of these best practices, it’s important to remember that smoke alarms should be checked regularly, and batteries changed once a month. Every 10 years, your smoke alarms should also be replaced. Share this friendly “Don’t wait—check the date!” infographic from NFPA with your students for quick tips on replacing a smoke alarm.

2. Develop and practice fire evacuation plans

While fire drills sometimes feel like yet another disruption in your day, they are a necessary routine to prepare young children for fire emergencies. In anticipation of upcoming fire drills at your school, ensure you and your students have rehearsed lining up and exiting quickly. For older learners, this may feel like old hat, but in a new classroom, the exit strategy may be different and it’s important they are current on the procedure.

3. Create emergency communication plans

In addition to knowing where students should go in case of fire, being able to communicate who is safe and who still needs help is just as important. We suggest using a simple “student whereabouts” board to get an at-a-glance view of who’s in your room that day as well as posting an evacuation class list that you can grab and take with you to easily check that all your students are accounted for once outside. Enforce the importance of using these systems to seek permission before exiting the classroom.

Don’t forget to connect all fire safety education back to home! Encourage your learners to think about the best exit strategy when they are at home and what they should do if smoke or a fire is present. Encourage students to share what they’ve learned with parents and siblings, discuss the plans they developed, and practice fire safety regularly.

4. Focus on prevention

This particular tip has applications that spread far and wide—both at home and while at school. Focus on prevention by helping students identify hazardous situations that they should avoid or seek an adults help with. This includes staying away from a hot stove, not using an oven or microwave without adult supervision, and identifying flammable objects that should stay away from heat sources. Additional tips and lessons can be found at NFPA’s Sparky School House site.

5. Report a fire immediately

While we certainly hope that an emergency doesn’t happen, it’s important to know what to do in case one does! Your students should know how to use a phone to immediately call authorities. 9-1-1 is probably the first number any child learns, but practicing recalling this number certainly won’t hurt. Remind students that firefighters have special training, protection, and equipment that allow them to safely handle a fire. Check out these great classroom reads for more information firefighters and how they protect our communities.

Interested in exploring more content to celebrate important events and holidays throughout the year? Check back each month for more free topical resources from our pre-K through 6th grade digital program, EducationCity.