Fire Prevention in Schools

Every October, children all over the country learn about fire safety and prevention at school. October is National Fire Prevention Month, and most schools dedicate classroom and activity time to teach children the importance of fire safety. Local fire departments often help in the teaching efforts in hopes that what is learned might prevent a fire and save a life.


October is Fire Prevention Month in memory of the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871. The devastating fire killed over 250 people, burned over 2,000 acres and left more than 100,000 people without homes. The story is that Mrs. O’Leary’s milking cow kicked over a lantern and started the fire. Historians recently proved that Mrs. O’Leary and her cow did not start the fire, but the story is retold every year.


It is vital that children learn about the dangers of fire and fire safety. On average, around 3,650 children are injured or killed in house fires each year. Children playing with fire or fire sources, such as lighters and matches, are the leading cause of these fires. Children must learn, in school and at home, how to prevent fires and stay safe if they do occur.


There are many resources for teaching fire prevention in schools. Along with curriculum found in teaching stores, there are also fire organizations that run fire safety programs geared toward young learners. Coloring books, some using original characters and some using well-known characters, such as characters in Sesame Street, are available through the organizations found in the “Additional Resources” section, below. Fire safety movies, using children’s characters, are also positive teaching options.


Local fire departments are usually willing to send a firefighter into the classroom to help familiarize students with firefighters and firefighting gear. This interaction is important. When fires do occur, children often hide from the intimidating looking firefighters sent to rescue them. If a child can see a firefighter dressed in his fire gear and equipment in a safe setting, she will be more likely to go to a rescuing firefighter in a real fire situation.


Education of children is a strong first step in fire prevention. The next step is to educate parents on how to keep their families safe at home. Schools are often the best avenue for this as well. Both fire departments and schools usually have informative pamphlets that can be sent home with the children. The topics can include home fire drills, escape plans, smoke detectors, causes of fires and steps to prevent them. With these efforts, it is hopeful that lives will be saved.

Every October