Share Books to Introduce Fire Safety
By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager
During National Fire Prevention Week, our local firefighters visited schools to talk to students about fire safety and prevention, show them some equipment they use and make sure they would never be afraid of a firefighter in uniform. Notes were sent home reminding families to practice with their kids so they know what to do if the smoke detector goes off. Reading books about firefighters and fire safety is a great way to start this discussion with young children and let them talk about their concerns.
The library has an excellent collection of children’s materials on this topic, thanks to the Manhattan Firefighters Union Local 2275. They have donated funds for the past three years to boost the library’s collection, so more kids and teachers can check out books and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe.
For some fun read-alouds to start off with a lighter approach, these picture books are sure to be a hit:
“I’m Brave” by McMullan is told from the point of view of a “good looking” fire engine. He goes through all his equipment, including the usual hoses and axes, as well as duckbill pliers and rabbit ear bolt cutters. Kids who love fire trucks will also enjoy “Firefighters: Speeding, Spraying, Saving” by Hubbell.
The exciting illustrations in Dale’s “Dinosaur Rescue” make it a perfect book to share with preschoolers, and Scarry’s “A Day at the Fire Station” in Busytown will always be good for some giggles, too. “Fire Drill” is a short picture book by Jacobs that describes the scenario of fire drills in a school setting with simple text and pictures, making the actual event a little less scary.
Some children are fascinated by emergency vehicles, from police cars to fire engines. For facts and photos about fire trucks, check out “Fire Trucks and Rescue Vehicles” from the Mighty Machines series, or “Fire Trucks in Action” by Hanson. “Rescue Vehicles” by Gilpin includes cross-section illustrations to show what is inside fire engines, ambulances, police cars and more. These books are now housed in our “Transportation” neighborhood in the Children’s Room.
A number of books for children have a very direct educational approach, which is great for covering the basics of fire prevention and procedures in case of a fire. “Contain the Flame” by Donahue covers outdoor and campfire safety, and “Being Safe with Fire” by Kesselring provides safety tips in everyday living, as well as steps to make an escape plan. Learn more specifics about firefighters’ jobs in books like “Firefighters Help Us” by Murray or “A Day with Firefighters” by Shepherd.
Our newest additions to the collection this year are two kits that include multiple books plus activities that can all be checked out together. The tote bag story kit, “Firefighters,” is geared toward preschool and early elementary ages. It includes six fun picture books, such as “Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill,” two informational books, a DVD of “Elmo Visits the Firehouse” and a cool firefighter costume for dress-up play.
The discovery pack, “Fire and Rescue,” comes in a backpack and is for kids in grades 2-6. It includes informational books about firefighters, fire dogs, smoke jumpers, rescue vehicles and fire safety. A large maze game will challenge older kids to think about fire safety, as well as test their logic and problem-solving skills.