Each year since 1922, The National Fire Protection Association has celebrated “Fire Prevention Week” in an effort to educate children and families on the dangers of fire. Originally instituted to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, modern-day firefighters continue to instill ideas that can save lives.
Last week, Sandy Hill Elementary School got a head start on fire awareness. With excitement buzzing in the air, Mrs. Cailey Mulder kicked off her room’s fire prevention focus by reading Firebears: The Rescue Team. Students chanted along, rhyming and anticipating the twists and turns of their storybook friends. Then, just as the book ended, a group of real firefighters entered the room!
Lieutenant Tom kicked off the visit with another book and then reminded students to talk to their parents about some fire basics. Make sure to review these with your family!
- Develop an evacuation plan and special meeting place in the event of a fire.
- Practice fire drills and, when possible, find two ways out!
- Change the batteries in your fire detectors every six months.
- If you need to report a fire, call 911.
- In the event that your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll!
While the fire lesson is altered for older kids, younger groups are reminded that firefighters may look and sound frightening when they come in the house, however their mission is to help. To help ease fears, Captain Ross demonstrated the workings of his special suit and the way his voice would sound through an oxygen mask. He practiced a call and response with the kids, asking, “Where are you?” and the kids shouting back, “I’m over here!”
The notion that the message is getting through encourages the men whose October calendar is packed with school visits and firetruck tours. Their goal is simple: to reach every preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 4th grade classroom in the area to get kids talking about staying safe in the event of an emergency. Captain Ross, pictured above, has a child of his own learning these very things as a student in Jenison. “My child has never talked about fire safety as much as he has this year,” he said.
With students wide-eyed and rapt, Firefighter Rob showed off some of the tools found on his rig such as
- special powders
- giant squirt guns
- Jaws of Life
He used this time to remind students that sometimes firemen come when there isn’t a fire. Sometimes, he explained, firefighters help at the scene of car accidents and other emergencies.
Sandy Hill kindergartners were sent home with a Fire Prevention Week packet that included coloring books, a game, stickers, and even temporary tattoos!
If your child met our fine local firemen last week, ask him or her about the experience, or, to review together, click HERE to take a NFPA quiz on fire safety!