October 3rd to 9th is Fire Prevention Week in Canada. Fire safety is an integral skill that is crucial to our children’s wellbeing. So, how do we go about teaching them fire safety?
Children are more exposed to the threat of fire when they are young because they are not informed enough about how to safely prevent fires. One of the most important things we can do is properly teach our children about fire safety.
Sparky the Fire Dog
The 2021 Fire Prevention Week theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.” Join Sparky the Fire Dog to learn more about the sounds smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire trucks make.
Visit this link to go to Sparky’s Fire prevention page for music videos, activities, and much more.
Fire Prevention Week with Jess Jorritsma of the The Perth East & West Perth Fire Department.
As part of our Community Champion Spotlight series, we had the pleasure of talking with Jess Jorritsma, the Public Education Officer for The Perth East & West Perth Fire Department.
She explained the importance of this year’s fire prevention week theme, educated us on how to teach kids about fire safety, and talked about a current public education initiative they have: the West Perth Fire Safety House.
Tips for Parents on Teaching Fire Safety:
Kids should be aware and prepared for the risk of fire. Here are some of our top tips to help ensure your children are aware of fire safety:
- Show your children how to call 911 and teach them your home’s address
- Tell your children that if they see a fire, call for help – DO NOT go near the fire
- Matches and lighters are for adults, not children
- Designate one place outside where all members of your family will meet in case there is a fire – this will let you do a headcount and make sure all your family members are safe
- Make sure every member of the family knows and has practiced fire escape routes, knows where all fire extinguishers are, and that all adults know first aid
- Teach them to get out and stay out. If a building is on fire, then stay away
Games & Activities for Fire Safety
Children, especially young children, are naturally curious and want to explore the world around them. Sometimes, it can be tempting for them to “explore” fire hazards if they do not know about adequate fire safety first. One of the best approaches to teaching fire safety is through games and fun activities. For example, you can create a “labyrinth” in your home to act as a fire escape route. You can have children stay “low to the ground” like they would have to be in the event of a fire.
Fire safety exists outside of the home as well. Go to your local daycare or school and go on a hunt for all the “EXIT” signs around. You can keep score of how many you find and turn it into a game. You can even have children colour or create their own EXIT signs.
The “STOP, DROP, and ROLL” Technique
The “STOP, DROP, and ROLL” technique comes in handy if an article of clothing should unexpectedly catch fire. It doesn’t have to be scary, either. Teach your kids a game of “STOP, DROP, and ROLL” by having them move around to music and, when the music stops, have your children practice their skills as fast as possible. There can be winners or losers for added fun, but keep the game good-natured so that they are encouraged to keep going!
You can even add on a “cool off” and “call for help.” Have kids “cool” themselves off after their stop, drop, and roll in a water tub and call for help from you, your spouse, or another adult nearby.
Having fun is a great way to instilling an important message! You can play the “What if?” game afterward to see what your children have learned, helping them out where there is any hesitation. Finally, you need to make sure your whole family is on board with your fire safety measures.
What YOU Need to Do
While teaching your kids the appropriate fire safety measures is crucial, YOU also need to ensure that your home is equipped in the event of a fire and that your family has a plan in place. Inform everyone in your household of an agreed-upon meetup point. Ensure that every window in your home can be opened with ease and is not stuck closed or the screens are difficult to remove without any tools. Kids should know how to do these tasks if need be.
Plan out an escape room. With every room, figure out two different ways to get out – a door or a window. If some of your bedrooms do not have windows, you may want to re-evaluate your home’s safety and prepare accordingly. For exiting the house, ensure your children are clear on alternative routes. If they cannot use the front door, they can use the back, garage, side, etc.
Tell your children about smoke alarms and detectors. Show them the noise they make and what it means. However, these are useless unless their batteries are regularly changed and they are tested, so ensure that you or another adult makes sure all your smoke detectors are operating as they should. Firefighters even recommend that every time there is a change in Daylight Saving Time, check your smoke detector batteries.
Fire safety is a family job, not an individual job! For more safety tips, check out the site below: