If you’re a parent, teacher, or caregiver, you’ve probably given fire safety some thought. You know that you only want what’s best for your kids, but you wonder if they would know what to do in the event of a fire.
In today’s world, everything is fast paced and jam-packed. Parents might need to work overtime, caregivers are booked to the max, and teachers are addressing more complex curriculums. No matter how stressful things get, you know how important it is to teach children the dangers of fire and what to do in the event of a fire.
We at FireGuide have developed this handy cheat sheet to accompany the FireGuide mobile app to help you in this process. FireGuide is the personal trainer for kids’ fire safety and we believe that teaching children about fire should be easy and engaging.
Step 1: Basics of Fire Drill
Fires are dangerous, they can start unexpectedly and spread very quickly. Schools are quite vulnerable to fire-spreading due to the high number of flammable objects in classrooms and libraries.
When it comes to fire, we can’t rely on children’s instincts to know what to do. We must teach children about how dangerous fire is at an early age. With this in mind, teaching fire safety to preschoolers is going to require patience.
Make sure your children know that fire is dangerous from an early age. Talking about fire safety with toddlers requires that you speak slowly and look for creative ways to make fire safety memorable.
For instance, you can try to teach fire safety with a mascot or by singing a song. It’s a great idea to network with your local fire departments and see what they can do to help educate your children about fire as soon as possible. Some fire departments will visit elementary schools as a guest speaker to assist teachers by presenting fire-safety in a way that kids understand.
Kids are being introduced to technology at an earlier age. Take advantage of this by using the drills on the FireGuide app as a virtual reinforcement to your lesson-plan.
Areas you might want to cover are:
· What might cause a fire?
· What are smoke detectors and what do they mean?
· How to pull the fire alarm and when to pull it.
· What to do if you are on fire.
· What is a fire drill?
· Why are drills important?
· What the “designated meeting place’ is
Step 2: Creating a Drill Lesson Plan
Fire drills are important because they give you and your child a plan of action. Without practice, there is a greater risk of injury for you and your children. Now that we’ve given you a sense of the basics and how to convey fire safety to children, here is a simple layout for a lesson plan that you can use for teaching fire safety to young children.
1. Review what a smoke detector does and how to react when it goes off. Explain how fire-alarms are connected to smoke detectors. Your children should understand that when the fire alarm is going off, there is a fire (even if it is a practice drill).
a. If possible, show children a video of a fire alarm going off as this will give them an idea of how loud an alarm can be. Children may get scared of the loud alarms, so it is helpful to give them an idea of what to expect.
2. Discuss and plan escape routes. Use the FireGuide app with this step to provide the child with consistent, familiar instructions. Download the app and get familiar with some of its functionality. With FireGuide, you can plan and record your drills in your own voice.
Children adore this because they get to hear you talking them through how to appropriately handle a fire emergency. This makes learning fire safety fun and repeatable.
a. When planning escape routes, account for at least two options at all times. With escape routes, the more you have planned the better, but stick to two to make it easy on the children.
b. During the escape, children need to know not to stop to put on shoes or other clothing. Children also need to know not to look for pets. As the adult, call for your pet or grab them if they are near. If your pet isn’t present, comfort the child with the knowledge that the pet may be outside already… if all else fails, leave without the pet.
c. Children need to know how to open and escape through a window should the need arise. If you’re on the second floor, consider training them how to use an escape ladder. For toddlers, simply show them a first-floor window escape to at least introduce the concept.
d. Children need to know how to check doors for heat caused by a fire on the other side. Keep in mind that the back of the hand is more sensitive to heat and that children can use towels as a barrier to hot surfaces. If the door handle or door is hot, instruct the child to jam a towel under it, stay low, and go out the window. Do NOT go under the bed, Follow the shelter-in-place instructions in FireGuide, or from your local fire station.
e. If a child catches on fire, teach them to perform the stop, drop, and roll maneuver.
f. Finally, once children have followed one of your escape routes, they need to stay outside at the designated meeting place and never go back into a burning building.
3. Practice your escape plan! Using FireGuide, run fire-drills on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and look for areas of improvement. Make sure that every child under your supervision knows to respect your authority and guidance in the event of a fire.
If you’re teaching at a school, make sure your children know that they should trust any other adult to help them evacuate in the event of a fire if they’re out of your sight. A child may be excused to the bathroom or get called up to the office and be separated from you when a fire drill occurs.
4. Lastly, reinforce your lesson plan by contacting the local fire department and see how they can help educate your young ones. Plan a day where you can take a field trip to their department or invite them to speak in front of your children/class. Firefighters are always eager to help educate young ones about fire safety.
Teaching fire safety to children doesn’t have to give you a headache. Thanks to the FireGuide app, you can now deliver customized, hands-on training to the children you care for. FireGuide makes fire drills fun and better prepares kids for what to do in the event of a fire.
The next time you have to plan a fire safety lesson plan, follow these suggestions and use FireGuide to feel confident that your children will know what to do when the fire-alarm goes off.