When I was a kid, a mobile fire safety trailer paid a visit to my elementary school. The friendly safety experts taught us fire safety tips, why our families needed fire emergency plans and how to safely escape a burning home. For the much-anticipated final part of our lesson, we crawled into the trailer, which resembled a miniature house, and waited while (harmless) smoke was piped in. Then we practiced crawling along the floor to find a safe way out.
This exercise terrified me. The trailer was dark, smoky and filled with the persistent screech of the fire alarm. As a result, I got the message loud and clear: Fire was no laughing matter. A real fire would be just as scary, dark and horrifying, so I better be prepared if it ever happened.
Now, I can look back and realize how fortunate I was to have this type of experience. Here’s a look at the Manitoba Firefighters' Burn Fund’s fire safety trailer, which is similar to the fire safety trailer I remember experiencing as a child:
Unfortunately, not all communities and schools are able to access this type of educational tool. But thanks to today’s technology, we have another option to educate kids about the importance of fire safety: virtual fire safety “tours” conducted via Skype or other online video software.
EHS Today’s sister publication Fire Chief recently showcased one of these educational opportunities. The Sparkles Fire Safety Skype Tour offers a free, 45-minute fire safety program for children. The program features fire safety messages, allows children to “meet” a real fire safety dog, includes a reading of the Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog children’s book and encourages kids to sing fire safety songs, ask fire safety questions and more.
“As you may know, many fire departments have shrinking budgets and maybe not enough personnel to go out and share fire prevention,” said Dayna Hilton, the executive director of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, in a video produced by Fire Chief. “The Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation has come up with a way to reach more children with educationally sound messaging.”