Fire Prevention Week is during the week in which October 9th falls, to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which started on October 9th of that year that killed 250 people, burned 2000 acres, and wiped out 17400 buildings. Over a hundred thousand people were left homeless.
Since this is Fire Prevention Week (and since a home fire starts every 86 seconds), this is a good time to get those prevention chores done and get the kids involved, too. There are also some activities and games you can play with your kids which will help them learn about fire safety and regular prevention methods.
The theme this year for Fire Prevention Week is, “ Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”. This is because smoke alarms, like other small, electronic devices, wear out over time. Over a period of ten years, technology improves, too. Check out our blog on smoke detectors here.
Back to our topic, here is the list of things you can do with your kids to celebrate Fire Safety Week:
Check all smoke detector batteries and dates on smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be replaced ten years from the manufacture date, which can be found on the back of the alarm. You will need to remove it to check the back, and then replace it. Some people use a permanent black marker to write the date in bigger print. While you replace the batteries, show your children how to check the date and the correct way of putting the new batteries into the unit.
Check all the fire extinguishers. Show your children how to check the fire extinguisher indicator (in the green!) and teach the responsible older ones how to P.A.S.S. (Pull. Aim, Squeeze, Sweep). Very few people have actually had the opportunity to use an operational fire extinguisher, but a review of the instructions every year is a good
refresher, even for adults!
Tell your children to ’get low and get out’, and stop, drop and roll (if clothing catches fire). You may also want to teach them that a closed door helps keep out smoke, heat and flame in the event of a fire, and that they can feel the bottom of the door, or the doorknob for heat. Also, make sure everyone understand what a smoke detector sounds like and that it means, “Leave,” not, “Go investigate”.
Practice (act out) your fire evacuation plan routine. Use a timer. If it takes them over three minutes to get to the agreed-upon meeting place, practice again. Make sure everyone has two exits. Remind them to never return to the house for pets, toys, etc.
Tell your child to avoid sleeping with handheld electronics. These devices require ventilation. If they wind up under a bed or blanket, they can catch fire.
Remind kids not to play with matches, lighters, candles, fireworks, stoves, or any other flame or heat appliances.
You can find some free games, print-and-color pictures for the kids here, and some music and videos here. The whole family can learn something from and get involved in Fire Prevention Week. After all, the next fire you prevent may be your own.