Fire Prevention Week falls annually on the second week of October. This year that means it starts on Saturday, October 8 and runs through Saturday, October 14. It’s a great time to help your preschool, Kindergarten, First and Second grade students learn how to be safe in a fire and prevent fires in the first place! Fire Prevention Week holds a special place here at Brain Brigade, where Jerry was a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years. Tie his teaching and firefighting (and education) experience together, and we have created some awesome ways to carry out Fire Safety and Prevention into your classroom.
- Know your Facts! Help your students learn their address and how to dial 9-1-1. Younger students in the pre-K level respond well to using a pretend phone to dial 9-1-1. Simulate a conversation by answering another phone and asking questions like: What is your name? What is the problem? Are you hurt? Is someone you know hurt? What is your address? These tools can help a child be a hero by learning to speak clearly and feel confident with the types of questions they might face.Older students will benefit from learning their address and phone numbers. Have them practice writing it out. Or send it home as an activity to do with an adult.
- Tour a Fire Station. Most local fire departments love having visitors. They often have an educational program in place to host students. Get out of the classroom for a great field trip. One local fire departments hosts their kindergarten class each year. They have stations where they show the protective gear that a firefighter wears (dual purpose to explain why a firefighter wears gear, but also to help children to not be scared if they would be in a real fire). They have a station where the kids learn about fire equipment and tools on the fire trucks and the ambulance. They get to climb through and ambulance to see what they might experience if they are in an emergency.
The students also watch a fire safety video and get fun give aways including their own fire helmets, coloring books, and more. Then they head outside for activities. They get to try spraying the hose at a “house fire” which is basically a wooden house with a wooden fire in the window. The “fire” is on a hinge, when the spray of water hits the “fire” it tips backwards on the hinge! And finally, they take groups of students on a fire truck ride around the block. The kids love it, but they also leave with confidence in what might happen in a fire or emergency, and how to keep themselves safe.
- Invite a Firefighter to Read. To complement your field trip, or if you are limited in your field trip options, invite a firefighter or chief to come read to your students! You can bring a partial fire station experience right into your classroom. Have the firefighter(s) read to the class as a whole, or break into smaller groups. Ask the firefighters to bring in gear and tools for students to touch and feel. Have students prepare questions in advance (we all know the question that begins, “There was this one time…”!!!).
One of our favorite books is The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. In this book, Pickles the Cat knows he is destined for big things, but he’s not quite sure what. He gets into some trouble and is not friendly to the other neighborhood cats. One day, he gets stuck in a tree and firefighters rescue him. He gets approval from the Chief to stay at the fire house…if he can be a good cat. Find out what happens to Pickles as he tries to earn a spot at the fire station!
- Develop vocabulary with a Fire Word Wall. Fire words make fantastic vocabulary words. Students are eager to write stories and draw pictures with words that are filled with danger and excitement! We have a list of almost 40 vocabulary words, some more challenging, in our Engine 65: Get to the Fire classroom resource. When you build a word wall and encourage your students to write a fire story, you’ll be amazed at how creative they can get!
- Make fire safety learning into a classroom game. We might be biased, but this is our favorite way to help students learn. Kids love games and we try to make games out of many of our subjects for our older students. Fire Safety games and activities are a perfect way to engage your students without whining!
Not sure how to create a game? Read this post on creating classroom games. You can also read, Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera, to get insight and inspiration in creating games in your classroom.
- Play pretend! Kids love playing pretend and it is a great learning strategy. Have students create their own fire helmets to become firefighters. Then create stories to practice skills. Have students call 9-1-1 and recite their address, practice getting low and staying low (crawling on the ground because of smoke), practicing touching doors with the back of their hands to see if it is hot, etc. Pretend is a fun way to reinforce what students have learned! Make a helmet, have students decorate and cut out. Use bands of paper stapled to the helmet to customize the fit to each child’s head.
And if you’re short on time, grab our Engine 65: Get to the Fire game. It’s a fast, easy download and you’ll be ready to print in no time.