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Learning Fire Safety Can Help Save Lives



  • Health
  • Science
  • Social Studies
    --Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Fire safety in the kitchen is the focus of Fire Prevention Week 2006.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to list some of the fire-safety rules with which they are familiar. Write the rules on a black/whiteboard or chart paper. Ask students to identify the reason why each rule is a good rule. Some rules students might share include the following:

  • Have your family create an escape plan to use during a fire.
  • Practice the escape plan twice a year.
  • If there is a fire, call the fire department after you get outside.
  • Never go back into a burning building.
  • If your clothing catches fire, don't run. Remember: Stop, drop, and roll First stop, next drop to the ground, and then roll around to put the fire out.

After reading this week's News for Kids article, students will undoubtedly be able to add to the list.

News Words

Introduce these words from the News Word Box on the students' printable page:

  • damaged, prevention, escape, detector, flickering, and spreading. Ask students to use one of those words to complete each of the following statements:
  • The candle's _____ light helped to light the room when the power went out. (flickering)
  • Hurricane winds _____ five houses on my street. (damaged)
  • If you're thinking about germ _____, you should always wash your hands before eating. (prevention)
  • My brother was _____ a thick layer of butter on his muffin. (spreading)
  • The bank robber made a big mistake when he tried to _____ capture by running into the police station! (escape)

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Learning Fire Safety Can Help Save Lives.

Reading the News

You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

* Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

* Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

* Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

More Facts to Share

Share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

On January 2, 2006, 11-year old Kelsey Olden saved her family by detecting an early morning fire in its earliest stage. Kelsey learned fire safety through the Student Awareness and Fire Education (SAFE) Program from the Shirley (Massachusetts) Fire and School Departments. You can learn more about Kelsey's story and the stories of other young fire heroes on SAFE's Young Heroes @ Work Web page.

This year's Fire Prevention Week (October 7-13) theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere." This is the perfect time to spread the word that more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home, and to teach families and kids how to keep cooking fires from starting in the first place. Did you know that

  • between 1999-2002, there were an average of 114,000 reported home fires associated with cooking equipment resulting in an annual 290 deaths and 4,380 injuries?
  • unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires?
  • three in 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen -- more than any other place in the home?
  • two out of three reported home cooking fires start on the range or stove?
  • there were an estimated 3,700 reported outdoor home grill fires in 2003?
  • portable cooking or warming devices rank third among cooking device groups, behind ranges and ovens, in number of home cooking fires? The majority of those fires involve toasters, toaster ovens, or counter-top broilers.
  • microwave ovens stand out for the number of scald burn injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms?

Each year, Fire Prevention Week is held during the week in which October 8 falls. Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into the night and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

Comprehension Check

Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to add to their list of fire-safety tips any additional tips they might have thought of, or any new ones they might have learned by reading this News for Kids article. Once again, ask students to share the reasons behind each tip.

You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

Recalling Detail

  • How did Kelsey Olden know there might be a fire in the family's house that January night? (The lights were flickering and she smelled smoke.)
  • What did Kelsey do when she smelled smoke? (She woke up other family members, then got everyone outside and called the fire department.)
  • Where was the fire located in the Olden's house? (behind a wall, behind a fireplace)
  • What is the special theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week? (kitchen fire safety)

Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page. Accept soundly reasoned responses for each of the kitchen fire-safety rules in the news article.

Follow-Up Activities

Root (base) words. Have students circle the following words in this week's News for Kids article: boiling, called, cooking, damaged, flickering, learned, noticed, Prevention, spreading, and turned. Have them identify the root (or base) word of each word. Can they correctly spell that root word?

Kitchen fire safety. Can students correctly answer the kitchen fire-safety questions in this Fire Prevention Week Quiz?

More fire safety teaching ideas. Education World offers many more ideas for teaching about a wide range of fire safety topics in our article, Fire Safety: Activities to Spark Learning.

Art. Have students choose one of the fire safety tips from their class list. Challenge them to create a fire-safety poster that will instruct others about fire safety. Display the posters around the school or in a local store that might welcome a display of children's artwork.

Additional resources. For additional Fire Prevention Week resources, be sure to see the teaching materials created for this year's Fire Prevention Week celebration. These materials include downloadable letters for kids to take home, a hidden picture activity, and lesson plan ideas.


Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NPH-H.K-4.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.K-4.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.K-4.5 Using Communication Skills to Promote Health
NPH-H.K-4.7 Health Advocacy
GRADES 5 - 8
NPH-H.5-8.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.5-8.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.5-8.5 Using Communication Skills to Promote Health
NPH-H.5-8.7 Health Advocacy
GRADES 9 - 12
NPH-H.9-12.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.9-12.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.9-12.5 Using Communication Skills to Promote Health
NPH-H.9-12.7 Health Advocacy

See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World