This is a post sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and Sparky.org.
I was talking to a mom friend the other day and she shared with me an unexpected yet scary experience she had with fire. It was such a scary thing because we all know how fast a fire can spread but because she had talked to her children about fire safety and had a plan in place, she was able to handle the situation quickly – before things got out of hand.
Since October is Fire Prevention month, I asked her if I could share her story with you. What allowed her to act fast and know what to do in was thanks to some of the resources mentioned in this post, and because her kids had also been learning about fire safety in school.
I’m going to start with a little disclaimer: this did NOT happen to me, but it happened to a close friend of mine. Things could have turned out so bad for her family. But, thankfully, they didn’t. Which, honestly, is why it’s so important to have these conversations.
Let’s talk about unexpected fire safety teaching opportunities and how to turn around a scary moment.
Unexpected Fire Safety Teaching Opportunities – How to Turn Around a Scary Moment
Let’s set the scene: My friend was cooking a family favorite, some sort of fried food. Either her oil was too hot or her food was too cold, and when she filled the pan, the grease bubbled up and splashed over into the burner.
Because she had an electric stove, my friend thought this would never happen, but her stove caught on fire. And not just a little few flames under the pan – the flames were apparently all the way up to her ceiling.
Not only that, but her kids were in the kitchen with her.
This was, as my friend said, the scariest moment of her life. Just listening to her, my heart was in knots, imagining my own kids and me standing in the kitchen as flames literally lick the ceiling.
My friend said she did the only thing she thought she could, she told the kids to run to their family “safe spot” for a fire, call 9-1-1 and she grabbed the fire extinguisher she had under the kitchen sink.
I could see the relief in her whole body as she told me: “I had the fire out in less than 3 seconds, but I was only able to do that, because I knew my kids were safe outside at the neighbor’s door, because we’d practiced this.”
Three things I want you to note about my friend’s story:
- Her fire alarms never went off.
- My friend’s quick-thinking got the fire out and kept it from destroying her house, but it would have been for nothing if she hadn’t been prepared with a fire extinguisher.
- Her kids knew what to do. Because they were prepared for a fire in their home.
Those were the magic words, to me. And that is why I partnered again this year with the National Fire Protection Association and Sparky.org, so I can show you how we are teaching our kids about fire prevention and how you (or your child’s teacher) can too!
It’s so important to prepare your kids for these events, though you hope it never, ever happens – being prepared and knowing what to do can make a huge difference when you have to think and act fast.
My friend was lucky. But she was also smart.
And hearing her story reminded me how important fire prevention is. So, I’m renewing my pledge to myself to keep up my fire safety practice in our family. And today I want to share with you what we are doing, so you can do it something similar with your family too.
So, what are we doing to turn this into a teaching moment?
We updated our family fire-safety plan
The kids have walked their routes to get out and we’ve got a plan for where the family will gather. We’ve done it all and we practice again and again, any time we think of it. If you would like to know more about creating a family fire-safety plan, check out this video (it’s amazing). And all the other videos that the National Fire Protection Association have pulled together to help support October’s Fire Prevention Month.
Nothing is more scary than the “unknown” to a child. So, if you want them to be less scared in an emergency, less panicked, then you have to prepare them by talking about it, explaining what they need to do, and just bringing it up regularly so they’re prepared.
It’s all about intentionally setting the stage for how to act, so that when the real emergency strikes, they already know what to do. Role-playing, asking, practicing, these are all good things and, frankly, just talking about it, even, can go a long way to helping kids be ready.
You can even make it fun – it’s not about scaring the kids, it’s about preparing them in case the unexpected happens.
We’re keeping our fire-safety tools in good operating condition
One thing about my friend’s story that stuck out to me was the alarms never went off in her house. Apparently, they had disconnected the one closest to the kitchen while they were painting and it hadn’t been reconnected.
That’s something she said she regrets having done, even though she was right there with the fire and knew what was happening, she could have easily been in the next room attending briefly to one of the kids while the food was being cooked.
The fire alarms could have alerted her (had she not been there), the neighbors or other potential helpers to the situation. So, we’re planning to avoid that and we check our equipment (alarms and extinguishers) regularly, using the fire alarm checking record we found on Sparky’s site.
This is an activity that the kids are in charge of, of course, with adult supervision.
We’re talking about fire safety with the kiddo’s teachers
Fire safety isn’t just for the home. And the NFPA has this whole teaching portal for teachers and parents to help keep kids aware of fire safety anywhere they are. So, we shared this resource and we’re going to keep sharing.
Sparky is my favorite resource
I love using fun activities to teach children important lessons, like fire safety. We have been using the resources from Sparky for about 3 years now and I love that there they offer so many options to teach children about this!
Here’s a summary of Sparky’s resources for easy access:
- Sparky’s site: all the resources can be found here
- Sparky’s games and apps
- Sparky’s printables and activities
- Sparky’s Schoolhouse: this is the teacher portal for fire safety education
Fire prevention is important! A lot of people think this might not happen to them, but you never know when you or your kids can find yourself in this situation. Make sure they’re are prepared – it can save lives!