According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the United States Fire Administration (part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency), children ages 5 and younger are more than twice as likely to die in a fire, than any other age group. Children’s Aid Early Childhood program makes safety a priority, and we have created a partnership with the FDNY to help keep our kids and families protected.
Since October, each of our 11 Early Childhood sites have invited a firefighter from the FDNY Education Program to visit with our kids and families about the importance of fire safety. Home fires can spread rapidly and leave families as little as two minutes to escape after an alarm sounds. Firefighter Felix from the FDNY Education Program was “dispatched” to our Children's Aid College Prep Charter School Early Childhood program to talk with our kiddos about what to do in case of a fire.
“A lot of fires are started by children, and they don’t really know what to do or how to prevent them. So it’s important that we get the message out to the kids and the family members, and [explain] what to do in a situation for the family to be safe,” says Firefighter Felix.
During each visit to our pre-kindergarten centers, the firefighter educators review important lessons with the children. First, the children view a short cartoon about a Dalmatian firefighter sharing how to stay safe in the event of fire danger. The cartoon covers many tips from the importance of smoke alarms, to the need for an escape plan for the family. The catchy phrase “stop, drop, and roll” help kids remember what to do when a room fills with smoke. Also, the Dalmatian Firefighter describes items that are dangerous for kids to play with – lighters, matches, heaters, etc. Following the cartoon, the firefighter educators talk about the importance of dialing ‘9-1-1’, soon getting the whole classroom of children to yell it repeatedly together to remember the number to call in case of an emergency.
The firefighter educators bring each of the kids a bright red firefighter hats and an activity book they can share with their families to keep the message of fire safety going.
“Our early childhood programs prepare children for life. As New Yorkers, living close to our neighbors in apartment buildings, it’s important to know what to do in the event of a fire,” says VP for Early Childhood Moria Cappio. “Just like it’s never too early to teach young children about sharing and making friends, it’s never too early to teach them about fire safety. Plus, firefighters are like rock stars to preschoolers and preschool teachers, so the FDNY visits always make for a fun day!”