Friday, November 18

The Firefighter is Your Friend: A Lesson Plan

A colleague recently asked me for a Firefighting presentation for a kindergarten class. I sent him the lesson we used to present. I figured I would share it here as well. 

This program is called "The Firefighter is your Friend". The purpose is to introduce the very young students, preschool - Kindergarten, with the role of a firefighter in an emergency and to familiarize them with the protective clothing and equipment first responders wear.

Here is what to do (ps. You don't have to read the script...ask q & a and work from feet up. This is informal, interactive and conversational. Have students make motions and sounds, touch and move as you go along. Have them talk, identify colors, shapes, texture, etc as you go.  

1) go in wearing your uniform, bring turnouts-scba 

2) sit on the floor with the kids (at all possible times- if your back hurts sit in a little chair. Important to stay at eye level.)

3) Q and A
        What do firefighters do? Yes we fight fire. With boxing gloves? No. with our superpowers? No. With water! That's right. Show me how you use a hose to put out a fire. (have them pretend to hold a hose)
        What is fire? (have them put fingers in air and wiggle them- fire)
There are good fires and bad fires. 
        What are some examples of good fire? (candles, cooking, campfire, heating etc) 
        What are some examples of bad fire? (out of control, burns skin, house, etc.) 
        If there is a bad fire or other emergency, who do you call? (FD, 911) 

      That's right! Then we will come quickly and bring our tools. Our fire engine has a siren on it that sounds like this (usually I will quack like a duck or something stupid like that and they will yell at me nooooooooo!!!! (and I pretend to be bummed that I couldn't fool them)) Then ask them to make the sound of a fire engine and show you how they would drive it to a fire. They tend to love that. )

       That was great! But before we can get on the engine, first we have to get on our protective clothes so that we don't get burned. Would you like to see my special clothing?

       First Im going to put on my pants. One leg at a time. (if you put them on without taking off your shoes point this is magical. You can also point out your boots are strong and have zippers because it takes too long to tie them. They can also knock on the toes to see how hard the boots are) Who can tie their shoes? Who wishes their shoes had zippers?
Who else can put on their pants all by themselves? What color are my pants? Who else has yellow pants? (bla bla...put on your pants and sit back down.)

        Next I'm going to put on my jacket (ps be down on the ground again an lay out your jacket in the middle of the circle. Allow them to touch it). I want to show you there are two parts to my jacket. This part will keep the water off me, this part will protect me from the fire. What color is my jacket? Does it have buttons or zippers or snaps? What letters/numbers are on my jacket? Why are they there/what do they mean? What is in the pockets? (tell them)

      It is important that I button and zip my jacket completely so fire does not sneak in. Who here can button or zip up their jackets by themselves?  (put the jacket on)

        On my jacket are pockets and tools. (ask and splain). This box is called a PASS device this is so other firefighters can find me if it is dark. It starts off with a soft sound and then it gets very very loud. It sounds like this beep beep beep beep (getting louder each time.) Can you make that sound (whisper then have them get louder with each beep.) Very nice! Would you like to hear it? Put your finger by your ear in case it gets too loud you can plug your ears! (then set it off). Do you think you could find me in the dark if this was going off?

    (you should still be on the ground) Next I am going to need to protect my head and neck. Who can show me your neck? Firefighters protect their head and neck with a special hood. I think it makes me look like a turtle, but you decide. (put on your hood and smile ;)  I don't know, do you think it makes me look like a turtle? Or a warrior? Or?

Ok so now am  I ready to go into a fire? Or might I still be in danger?  What else do I need? Oh my face and hands! Very good! Not just my face and hands, but I have to protect my lungs to. Has anyone here ever had to breathe in a lot of smoke? Did it make you cough? (you can have them put their little faces into their elbows and show you how smoke makes them cough) It makes me cough too, and it would be impossible to fight fire if we are coughing so I'm gonna need some fresh air! Luckily I have some right here!

(Now put the SCBA in the middle of the circle. Have the students identify the parts or colors or letters. Depending on the group size, they can touch the tank and tell you if it is cold or warm, smooth or rough.) I am going to wear this like a backpack. Who here carries a backpack?  Did anyone wear a mask for Halloween? My mask is going to protect my face but it kind of makes my voice sound different. But your hands around your mouth and say "hello firefighter flint". Tell me what you think. (Don your mask but don't connect it yet) "Hello kids, what do you think does my voice sound funny?"
So am I safe to go into a fire now? No? Your right! I still need to connect my air supply and protect my hands. But there is something else I have to protect- my head! Not just from fire, but from water and things falling and in case I fall down!! Who here has a helmet they wear to protect your head? When do you wear it? (biking, skating, skiing etc) Awesome! Me too!! (again you can put your helmet in the middle of the circle) What color is it? Is it rough or smooth? What letters or numbers are on it? They reflect light in the dark, why? This is the BRIM of my helmet. Baseball caps have brims on them too. Who has a baseball cap with a brim? But your brim is in the front of your cap. My brim is on the back to keep the water out of my jacket! When I put on my helmet it is important to make sure it fits right, and the strap is latched or it won't protect me in a fall.
How will I protect my hands?  Yes! Gloves! Does anyone here have their own gloves? Show me how you put them on (have everyone mimic putting on gloves) and I will show you how I put on mine!
Now there is one more thing I need to do to be able to go into a fire. What is it? Oh that's right, I have to connect my air supply. So here is what I am going to do. First I'm going to turn on the valve. It is going to make a sound like this "chhhhhh" you do it. Exactly. Then I am going to hook it up and my voice will sound REALLY silly and you will hear the air when I breath it. Ready? Ok. Listen. (hook it up turn it on and then say to the kids ' ok now will I be protected from the fire? Yes! That's right!!".

Ask them if they think you look scary or nice. Invite them to come up and touch your BA and YOU...arms, legs, back, helmet hands (softly), while your BA is on. (this will  help reduce fear) they can be prompted with "smooth or rough" "cool or warm"

Disconnect the BA and ask them what they should do in a fire. The answer is GET OUT!

Get low and go! (have them use their thumbs to show get low (point down) and go (point out) It is important to get down because the smoke will go up. If you or I stand up we will not be able to see anything, and for you it will be hard to breathe. Who used to crawl when they were a baby? Well when there is a fire, Firefighters have to crawl and if you find yourself in a fire I want you to crawl just like you did when you were a baby. But now you are big so I want you to crawl like a pony with your nose in the air.

So if there is a fire you should GET LOW (two thumbs to the floor) and GO! (Both thumbs out.) Where are you going to go? (one thumb out) out the door OR (other thumb repeat) out the window. Go to your meeting place in front of your home.

If you cant get out the firefighter will come to save you but he has to find you first. If a firefighter comes to help you, it is important for you to help the firefighter. Here is what I want you to do. I want you to yell, HELP ME FIREFIGHTER!! HERE I AM!!!  And I want you to crawl to me as fast as you can! Now I'm going to the other side of the room and when your teacher says "Fire!" I want you to crawl to me as fast as you can and yell as loud as you can "HELP ME FIREFIGHTER! HERE I AM!!!" And gently tag me!

Then you can find an appropriate way to end it. A great thing to do is to send home a letter or email explaining what the students learned and providing the links or resources for developing a home fire escape plan.