It’s not just up to the firefighters who visit your child’s school to teach your children about the importance of fire safety. At the same time, you don’t need to have an overly dramatic discussion with your younger children to teach them little bits of information about the subject either. As you know if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, we love books. Books can be a great teaching tool, especially for the younger set. Storybooks are great for this, even when it comes to something as serious as fire safety. Read on for three great examples of books that have combined a great story with fire safety.
The Firefighters by Sue Whiting (Author) and Donna Rawlins (Illustrator) is a book I got from our library. I’ll admit that I knew nothing about it and grabbed it solely based on the title and the photo on the cover. It’s a cute cover! The book itself is lovely. The book follows three little “firefighters” as they imagine their way into the fire truck (a box) along with their teacher and zoom off to the fire. They put on oxygen masks (hankerchiefs) and work very hard to put it out. I love imagination and so this book is an automatic favorite of mine. BigBrother and LittleBrother are also constantly putting out imaginary fires so they find this book to be fabulous. The reason I have included it in this post of books that contain fire safety tips is because, after the children put out their imaginary fire like the real firefighters, real ones show up to teach them about fire safety! They’re taught to “get down low and go, go, go” if a building they are in catches on fire. At first glance, you may think it’s just part of the story but your children pick up on this information. It’s a great little lesson in a great little book about firefighters. (As a side note, one of the children pretending to be a firefighter is a girl and one of the firefighters who arrives is a woman. HOORAY!)
Spark the Firefighter by Stephen Krensky (Author) and Amanda Haley (Illustrator) is a book I recently purchased through our Scholastic book order at preschool. I rarely pass up a firefighter book in the book orders and I wasn’t disappointed with this particular one. The story follows a dragon who is, get this, afraid of fire. BigBrother found that to be rather amusing. Spark then decides to join the fire department to train himself not to be afraid of fire. (I must admit that this doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea for people who are afraid of fire.) He goes through the training (carrying ladders, studying about caring for people who are burned). Eventually he gets to fight a real fire and proves that he isn’t afraid of it anymore. He then comes back to help train new recruits. So where’s the fire safety lesson? In the middle of the book, it shows Spark at the school, teaching the children about fire safety. The chalkboard reads, “Never Play with Fire!” The fire chief explains, as Spark rolls around on the ground, what you should do in a fire (crawl under the smoke and stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch on fire). Once again, it seems like a two-page-spread in a story about a dragon but it doubles as a very important lesson. This book is simply adorable. I love Spark and so do TheBrothers.
The last book we love when it comes to fire safety tips is Clifford The Firehouse Dog. We love Clifford in this house, whether in book, television or movie form. So, Clifford as a firefighter is an easy love. In this story, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth go to visit Clifford’s brother, Nero, a firehouse dog. As they’re visiting, the fire siren rings. We then follow Clifford and the firefighters as they make their way to the fire and put it out. Clifford helps in his big and tall ways. At the end, Clifford is mad an honorary fire rescue dog just like his brother. The fire safety tips in this book occur in two places. At the beginning of the book, before the fire siren rings, a group of children have arrived at the station to learn about fire safety. Nero teaches them how to stop, drop and roll. (So does Clifford but, at his size and with his Clifford-like-luck, he ends up crushing something. Not a child.) A list of fire safety rules also appears at the very end of the book. Things like knowing the way out of your house, choosing a place to meet and never using the stove alone are all on the list. I loved that they included a list at the end of the book! Clifford wins again!
You can see by these three examples that storybooks can still teach our children very important lessons. When it comes to teaching our children about fire safety, we don’t always have to be in-your-face dramatic about it. Fire safety is serious. No doubt about it. However, children learn things in a variety of ways. Presenting information about what to do in case of a fire in a non-threatening way can help them learn it and memorize it without either of you even realizing it.
Now it’s up to you, once they’ve been exposed to the information, to ask them at random times, “What do you do if your clothes catch on fire? How do you get out of the house if it is filled with smoke? What number do you dial if there is a fire?” Use the books and ask the questions.
Be fire safe!
[Disclosure: The Firefighters was borrowed from the library. We purchased the other two books.]