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Teaching Fire Safety Makes Head Start Children Feel Safe

Keeping children safe is an important part of being a preschool educator. Teaching them about safe practices is a good start. Teaching them about fire safety is essential! Children tend to think that fire is magical. It emits warmth and light and is used in many types of celebrations around the world. However, fire also has a scary side. It can be dangerous when it is used inappropriately. For these reasons, children need to learn at an early age that fire is not for play. They need to learn how to protect themselves if they come into contact with fire.

To protect themselves, children need to know what to do in the event of a fire. They need to how to get help and who to call. Then they need to know what to expect if a fire truck does show up! It is essential that they know what a fire fighter will look like in his protective gear so they won’t be afraid.  During a fire emergency, firefighters are usually in their helmets, jackets, boots, masks, shields, air hoses, air tanks, etc. These are things that can easily scare away a young child.  It is important that preschoolers realize that they aren’t scary monsters, they are there to help them. 

The Elkland and Osceola fire departments recently visited the Elkland Head Start center. They talked about fire safety with the children and what they should do in case they ever encounter a fire.  Teachers and fire fighters talked about what numbers to push on a phone and how to stay safe if inside.  The firefighters also talked about their own safety and showed the gear that they wear while fighting a fire. “This showed the children that they are just normal grown-ups even though the firefighters may look scary with all of the gear on”, said Kristen Rider, Elkland 2 Head Start teacher.  “It was the goal of the fire fighters to have the children understand that they are there to keep them safe. When a few children felt a little scared, the firefighter removed his gear to show them he was just a normal person underneath”.

The fire departments also brought two types of fire trucks with them that the children were able to walk next to and observe.  They explained some of the items that were seen on the sides of the trucks.  After the children walked by and observed the outside of the firetruck, they had the opportunity to be lifted inside, sit on the seats, and walk through.