They came through our living room like astronauts from a dark planet: not saying a word, dressed in olive green Kevlar, wearing gas masks and carrying pick axes. They were there to help of course, but I didn’t care. It was a terrifying sight for eight-year-old me. The images of those first responders, firefighters searching for the source of a natural gas leak at our house, have stuck with me for 40-plus years.
Let’s face it, the sight of firefighters in full gear can be scary, especially for kids. Explaining how the equipment helps a firefighter stay safe while working is one the reasons volunteer and professional firefighters will visit schools in support of Fire Safety Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2015.
During that week, many local fire departments bring their fire trucks and equipment to elementary schools to help children understand that firemen and women are simply community helpers who work to protect people from fire and keep them safe. Parents can help reinforce this message at home – and preempt any fears kids may have on school Fire Safety Day – by checking out some online resources and activities tailored specifically for younger school-aged children:
Sparky the Fire Dog helps children become familiar with the special clothes and equipment firefighters use to keep people safe in these videos from the National Fire Protection Association
Printable coloring pages: Download and print coloring activities from Fire Safe Kids
The basics of fire safety: Simple tips for fire safety along with games and activities created especially for children ages three to five from Play Safe, Be Safe.
Online fire safety games: Sparky the Fire Dog returns with attention-grabbing video games and resources designed to help children learn about firefighters and fire safety.
This year’s Fire Prevention Safety Week, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, has an important message for parents as well. The theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm” is a reminder for grown-ups about the importance of having working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. (Infographic)
For children and adults, knowing what can help keep you safe in the event of a fire will help everyone sleep more peacefully.
JoEllen Gardner has been a communications specialist with Capital Region BOCES since 2011. She has raised three sons, now 30, 21 and 18, who all marvel at her superhuman ability to detect the smell of natural gas.
Copyright ©2015 by Parent Today and Capital Region BOCES; Used with permission