October was National Fire Prevention Month and Fletcher Elementary teamed up with the Cambridge Fire Department and J&L Hardware to provide fun and engaging fire safety education to students, despite COVID-19 restrictions.
In lieu of the typical in-person presentation by firefighters, the Cambridge Fire Department purchased a fire-safety related book for every student at the school to take home and enjoy. The books addressed relevant fire prevention topics and included, The Berenstain Bears Visit the Firehouse, for younger students, and the book Wildfire, for older students.
“Rather than just miss a year of important fire prevention education, we worked hard to find creative ways to still get the information out there in a safe and engaging way,” Cambridge Fire Department member Kristy Wyckoff said. “Through their books, both the younger and older students learned about the equipment firefighters use, how we do our jobs, and important fire prevention tips for staying safe at home.”
For the second consecutive year, the school also partnered with J&L Hardware to offer a fire safety challenge for students to complete at home. Families were asked to complete two of three fire prevention activities including creating and practicing a home fire escape plan, testing and changing batteries in their smoke detectors, and watching an informative fire safety rap video. Families that completed the challenge were entered into a drawing to receive one of six home fire extinguishers.
“It is essential that we support students in generalizing learning across settings,” Instructional Coach Denette Locke said. “By asking students to take what they learned in their fire safety books and in school discussions and apply that at home, it makes the learning relevant and real.”
With current COVID-19 restrictions around visitors to the school, the Cambridge Fire Department also created a video tour of the firehouse. The video walks viewers through everything from the dispatch system to the trucks and firefighters’ apparel. The video may be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTmLjJ3aYsk&feature=youtu.be
Students also received fire prevention activity bags, including 9-1-1 decals, a fire safety activity book, three-dimensional fire truck building kit, and a safety pledge to sign with their families at home.
“COVID-19 has caused us to reinvent our teaching across all content areas,” Locke said. “It’s exciting to see our community partners like Cambridge Fire doing the same thing. Their creativity and willingness to be flexible means that our students can seamlessly continue their important learning about safety in ways that will make sense long after the health and safety restrictions have been lifted. That’s the silver lining. Good teaching remains good teaching despite anything else. We are very thankful to the Cambridge Fire Department for also embracing that approach this year.”
“I like to learn about fire safety because it helps keep us safe at home,” kindergartner Ryder Sheldon-Purinton said. “We learned how to make sure our smoke alarms work and how to get out of the house in case there is a fire. Being safe is a school rule and you should be safe at home, too.”
Christopher Dodge is the Principal of Fletcher Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @FletcherFalcon