This year we spent the entire first day of school on something I always intend to cover but rarely do: fire safety and emergency situations.
One of my college housemates was badly burned in an explosion in Kenya (where she is a missionary) earlier this summer, and she has been on my mind and in our daily family prayers. When that happened, I remembered some lesson plans on burn safety I’d seen online, which were put together by a homeschooling mother from Oklahoma whose 4-year-old son was terribly burned last year. My friend is expected to heal completely, but the little boy will have lifelong scars.
Also, it had been a long time since we’d done a home fire drill.
We discussed what to do if the fire alarm wakes you up at night. It’s scary to talk about, but the children need to be able to get out of the house even if N. and I are no where to be found. William shares a room with Teddy, so he has to be able to get him out of the crib and out the window.
I timed them, and after a few tries, they could all get to our designated meeting place in the front yard in less than one minute.
Of course, in a real fire, they would not wake up instantly to the fire alarm, so we also practiced checking the door, crawling through smoke, and stop-drop-coveryourface and roll. Don’t be afraid of a fireman in full gear (we looked at pictures), and no bringing along toys or trying to save pets. 😦This summer I took a CPR class, and I realized that CPR or the Heimlich maneuver could look scary to a child who doesn’t know what it is. It might look like I am trying to hurt the person who can’t breathe.
So, while I wouldn’t expect my kids to perform CPR on an unconscious person, I wanted them to know what I would do in that situation. We watched YouTube videos of CPR and helping a choking infant or child and I practiced on a doll and (gently) on each of them.
They also each took turns pretending to call 9-1-1 and actually calling N’s mobile phone from our landline telephone. We keep the landline for emergencies, but since we hardly use it, most of them didn’t even know what the dial tone was, much less how to call anybody.All this information became very useful later in the day when a certain child tried to taste something cooking on the stove when I left the kitchen for a moment. He got burned (first degree, he could identify) and set a potholder on fire! I sure hope that lesson set in for life.
We might have a safety review day on May 4, which is International Firefighters Day, or, in Catholic countries, St. Florian’s Day. St. Florian was a Roman firefighter and martyr and is the patron saint of firefighters. Another option would be to make this a summer activity on August 11, the feast of St. Lawrence, another Roman martyr who is the patron saint of burn victims. This would be a good day to pray for all those who are in the path of summer wildfires.
I still remember the fireman who came to my 1st grade class to teach us to stop, drop, and roll. I think this day was a pretty memorable one for my children too!