Play Safe! Be Safe! Preschooler Fire Safety
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Keeping children safe is an important part of being a preschool educator. Young children need your help to understand the dangers of fire and how to respond. Fireproof Children, with the BIC Corporation and other experts, developed the play safe! be safe! preschool program. It focuses on keeping preschoolers safe in a fire and preventing fire play.
The program covers these messages:
1. Go to a firefighter in an emergency. Young children may be scared the first time they see a firefighter in full gear. Explain to children
- What firefighters wear and why.
- How a firefighter can help if there is a fire.
Contact your local fire station to arrange a tour. The children can learn about equipment and become familiar with what firefighters look like and what they do. Or invite firefighters to your classroom so they can put on their gear in front of the children, explain their jobs, and answer children’s questions.
2. Crawl low under smoke.
- Tell children that some fires make lots of smoke, which is dangerous to breathe.
- Show them the safe way to respond when a room fills with smoke: get down on your hands and knees, keep your head up, and crawl outside.
- Ask children to practice with you. Lead them in crawling across the room with their heads up. Repeat frequently to help children remember this important safety strategy.
3. Stop, drop, and roll. When children’s clothes catch fire, their first reaction may be to run. This can make the fire spread faster. Show children the safest way to respond:
- Stop, cover your face, get down on the ground, and roll from side to side until you smother the fire.
- Ask children to practice with you a few times and then split them into pairs. Children can take turns demonstrating to their partners. Repeat frequently to help children learn to stop, drop, and roll automatically.
4. Tell a grown-up. Emphasize to children that matches and lighters are tools that only adults use.
- Tell children that they should not play with or even touch these materials.
- Explain that if they find a match or lighter, they should tell a grown-up immediately.
- Role-play with children in small groups about what to do when they find these types of materials.
Visit www.playsafebesafe.com to learn about the play safe! be safe! program workshops, access free activities for children, and order a low-cost multimedia kit that includes a teacher manual and a DVD with fire-safety lessons.
This article is adapted from “We Can Teach Young Children Fire Safety,” by Robert E. Cole, Robert Crandall, and Carolyn E. Kourofsky, 2004, Young Children 59 (2): 14–18.
Vol. 6, No. 3