Teaching children about fire safety is an important part of the curriculum, but it can be hard to know the best ways to engage them and where to find resources. Primarily, an important thing to consider when you’re planning to deliver a lesson on fire safety is whether you will have any children present who may have been involved in a fire. You should be able to find this out from the school’s HR department, and then be able to handle the matter sensitively. In the case of young children, consulting their guardians first is advisable, so that they are aware of the content.
Additionally, teachers should be aware that lessons on fire safety can cause children to become overly concerned about the dangers of a fire, so it is very important that you also take care to reassure pupils that fires are rare and be careful not to use language which is unduly sensational.
Here we’ve put together some educational and entertaining resources that you can use for inspiration when teaching your classroom around fire safety. They can also be used by parents who wish to teach young children at home.
Key Stage 1
For young children, aged between 5 and 7, it’s best to stick to simple activities that will engage them and grab their attention.
One of the most successful ways of teaching fire safety to this age group is by using colouring exercises and games, so you aren’t bombarding them with information.
The London Fire Brigade have some great colouring resources that you can print out and use to go alongside your lesson.
A good place to start with this age group is getting them to identify ‘good and bad’ sources of fire. Use your lesson to go through why some fires can be safe and what makes others dangerous, with worksheets such as the one below to get them thinking about the difference.
This Government website has lots of lesson plans and supplies that you can use, including worksheets and interactive games.
Key Stage 2
With Key Stage 2 children you can get them to start leading the conversation so that you can assess how much they have learned.
For instance, introducing children to ‘What If?’ scenarios will encourage them to think for themselves or in groups. You can download a selection of ‘What If?’ cards here, or perhaps get students to come up with their own.
With this age group teachers can also start to give practical advice that they can use in the event of a fire, such as learning about escape routes and how to get away from a fire as quickly as possible. This is also a good age to go through how to make a 999 call in the case of emergency. Consider creating some role play scenarios so that children can practice the kind of things they would need to say.
Key Stage 3
With older children you can start to give more detailed advice, such as the ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ technique.
Planning lessons around fire safety in the home is important as well as you can teach children practical advice - for instance, recognising dangerous situations and how to rectify them. You can get comprehensive materials on the subject from places such as the British Council.
If you’re looking for some other activities that aren’t too simplistic in your older classes, the London Fire Brigade have some more advanced games for teachers that would work well for this age group; for instance, guessing the artist of fire themed songs or identifying fake iPhone chargers.
The Childrens' Burns Trust also has a variety of online resources in their ‘learning zone’ which are targeted at specific ages groups, raising awareness of all things that could burn a child.
You can also arrange for your local Fire Rescue Service to come in so that they can speak to your class about the work that they do and put all the teachings into context. Teaching children of all ages about fire safety is vital as, fundamentally, you cannot guarantee an adult will always be there. Children need to be able to recognise fire hazards, be aware of how to prevent a fire, and know what to do should a fire event occur.
If you’d like any more tips on teaching children about fire safety, with a particular focus on safety in the kitchen - the most dangerous room in the home - please download our Fire Safety In The Kitchen eBook.