In the U.S., a house fire is reported roughly every 86 seconds. Yet only one in three households has (and has practiced) a house fire escape plan. During Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, the National Fire Protection Association focuses on changing the public’s attitude toward fire safety and prevention.
Three simple steps can make all the difference in reducing the risk of a house fire. Use these pointers to teach students—and their parents—essential fire prevention tips. Plus, get fire safety promotional item ideas to drive home your point.
- Look: Step one in fire prevention is looking for potential hazards. Cooking is the top cause of house fires, so teach students kitchen safety basics, such as never leave the stove unattended while cooking and keep towels and oven mitts away from hot surfaces. Candles pose another danger that many people overlook. Ask students to look around their homes and take a fire safety inventory. Are working smoke detectors installed in the proper locations? Is there a fire extinguisher available and do they know how to use it? And, if they live in an upper-level home or sleep on a second story, is there a fire escape ladder? Consider playing a game like fire safety bingo where students mark off a square for every safe behavior or safety improvement they make. Reward winners with a fire safety promotional item like a sport bottle, activity book or key light.
- Listen: The sound of a smoke detector can be frightening, so it’s a good idea to have younger students listen to the sound when there isn’t an emergency. Bring a home smoke detector to the classroom to demonstrate and then explain what students should do when they hear it. These fire safety stickers will help remind them. For older students, assign homework that involves a parent setting off the detector (preferably when it’s unexpected) and time how long it takes them to get out of the house. Stress the importance of acting quickly—during a fire, there may be only minutes to escape once a smoke detector is heard. Have students report on their progress and reward those who do with a firefighter pen.
- Learn: Learning what to do in the event of a fire is critical to escaping one. Have each student create and practice their own fire escape plan, complete with a home diagram outlining the exits. Identifying two escape routes from every room is ideal. Have them discuss a safe place near the home (like a neighbor’s house), where the family can meet if they have to evacuate. And make sure students know what emergency numbers to call once they’re out of harm’s way. Send home fire safety promotional items as reminders, like fire safety coloring books, hang tags or bookmarks.
Fire Prevention Week is an excellent time to remind everyone about the importance of planning ahead. Share these tips, along with fire safety promotional items, with students, parents and staff, and help everyone stay safe!