The first thing that popped into your head was, “A fire drill, of course. They do it at school already so that should be enough, right?” It could give children a general idea of the procedures in case of an emergency but it doesn’t teach them enough about fire safety and prevention. Each child is comfortable learning in their own way, and you can leverage that by knowing the basics of the seven learning styles: Visual (use of images and pictures), Auditory (use of sound and music), Verbal (use of words, both orally and written), Kinesthetic/Tactile (use of hands/touch, movement), Logical (use of logic and reasoning), Social (interpersonal, learning in a group), or Solitary (intrapersonal, learning alone).
You wouldn’t need to identify a single learning style, because let’s be real, no one learns with only one learning style. Many use a combination of styles which makes up their preferred learning style. Find out works for your children and leverage it accordingly. Once you have that figured out, here are a few activities that we think would be helpful in teaching children about fire safety and prevention.
Let’s start with the evacuation itself:
Draft up a simple floor plan of your home/apartment/condominium with all possible exits and have your child draw what they think the best evacuation plan is. If they happen to draw the correct path (one that you think is most appropriate), ask them to explain why they think it is the best route. If they happen to draw an evacuation plan which you may not think is the most effective, ask them to explain their reasoning. You never know, they may uncover something you’ve never thought of when considering an evacuation. This also allows the opportunity for you to explain why their route may not be the best, and why your Children Fire Safety and Preventionchosen route is most effective.
. Be sure to repeat the process with finding an alternate route if the chosen route is blocked by a fire or any debris, Learning styles used: Visual, Verbal, and Logic.
After you have drafted an evacuation route with your child/children, take the time to rehearse it. Ask your child/children what they think should be the first thing to do when they notice a fire, or are alerted of one. Alike to drafting an evacuation route, allow them the opportunity to explain their reasoning, correcting them as you feel necessary. Be sure to write down the steps in your evacuation plan. Once you have your evacuation route, an alternate route, and an agreed evacuation plan, rehearse and time it. Follow up with anything you notice the children should improve on. Learning styles used: Verbal, Kinesthetic,
Now on to fire prevention:
The first step in fire prevention around the household is education and awareness. Teach children about flammable and explosive materials. Households are filled with a number of them, especially in cooking areas (cooking oils and gas lines), the garage (automotive fluids), and even in bathrooms (aerosol body sprays and air fresheners). Let children know where these materials are stored, and to keep away from those areas unless told otherwise. Learning styles used: Logical.
Integrate your child/children into the use of these materials in a safe way. For example, one of the easiest ways of doing this is bringing your child/children into the kitchen while you cook. Explain why you use the materials you do in a certain way. Show your child how these materials are used safely in a controlled environment. Do the same with other flammable/explosive materials in your household. Learning styles used: Logical.
Do you have a household fire extinguisher? If so, you probably want to make your child/children aware of its operation. In case of an emergency, it is always ideal and strongly suggested that an adult uses the extinguisher but there could be circumstances where a child may have to use it. As such, teach them the simple acronym: P.A.S.S. This acronym breaks down into the following: Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep the extinguishing agent back and forth at the base of the fire. There are many videos online that show the correct use of a fire extinguisher. Here’s one that we find helpful: Fire Extinguisher Training (P.A.S.S.). Learning style used: Verbal.
Households are filled with appliances which draw a considerable amount of power. There are a number of receptacles in a home which may be left uncovered, without anything plugged in. It is always a good idea to purchase outlet covers from your local home improvement store to safely occupy any vacant receptacles. Educate your child/children on keeping a safe distance from outlets unless they are told otherwise. If they are plugging anything in, ensure that the plug is inserted as far is it can go into the receptacle, preventing anything from coming in contact with the live prongs. Learning style used: Verbal.
Take a moment and walk around your home. If you have a gut feeling that something may not be safe, chances are, it probably isn’t. Have your child do this walk around with you and ask them if they notice anything amiss as well. Take the initiative to remove any fire hazards, or any other hazards around your home. Schedule some time with your family to discuss and thoroughly understand the fire safety measures for your home. Keep areas decluttered, exits clear of any obstructions, and unplug appliances when they’re not in use (steam irons, kettles, blenders). The key method of teaching your child about fire safety and prevention is keeping them involved instead of dictating the rules.