1. #1
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    FightingDevil's Avatar
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    Post Fire Prevention Presentation- Help!

    Hi All,
    My wife called me this afternoon and told me that my daughters preschool teacher asked if I could come in on Tuesday to talk to her class for fire prevention week. The main thrust is to prepare the class for thier field trip on Thursday to the fire house down the block (another municipality). The main reason for asking me to come in first is because last year, the firefighters came to school with thier SCBA and dalmation and the kids thought it was a little scary. The teacher's hoping that since I'm a class daddy I can 'prep' them before the trip so they can have a good time while they're at the station!!

    The important thing to remember is that this is a preschool and the class I'm going to is a bunch of 3 year olds!!

    I am obviously going to pack up, but will show them in a good way that it's OK to be scared of firefighters with all thier gear on, but we're here to help!! Any thoughts or success stories would be greatly appreciated!!


    -Devil
    Once again....the above views are my own and not that of my department. (And probably should not be construed as having any real meaning, whatsoever!)

    IACOJ

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    When we do the classes for the kids, we have 1 person doing the presentation and will have 1 other person be the one to get the gear on and pack up. Have the one getting dressed start in their uniform. Then as they start to get dressed, have the person doing the presentation explain the whole process. Let the kids hear the one talking the whole time and explaining it while they watch the other one. This way they can see that it's an actual person. I've heard of some places where they just have someone walk right in wearing gear/pack and breathing air........ That scares the kids more because they don't know ahead of time that it's a real person inside all that stuff.

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    One of our Captains always goes out as "flash" the fire safety clown. He took an old pair of turnouts, cut the pants off to make long shorts, a turnout coat with "flash" on the tail, both with no liners, and wears rubber boots, red and white striped clown stockings that show between the top of his boots and the turnout "shorts", clown makeup, nose, and wig, and a red helmet.

    Kids love clowns, and a fire safety clown is no exception! Plus it seems to go a long way towards making firefighters a little less scary, we had one kid ask where the fire clown was at an accident scene where he was in one of the vehicles.


    I am always worried that one day they will enroute to a presentation in the engine when a real call goes out and the first thing people see is a clown in turnouts jumping out coming to thier aid.

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    We gave up on doing the preschools with fire prevention it's ok to show them the engines and the fire house but much after that they lose interest or become very scared. We have a great grade school program that our township pays for it involves a magician and his puppet he has coloring books to go with his program. Firefighter phil is what its called i think it is a national company. we figured since thay get five years of a good fire prevention program then we don't concentrate our efforts on the preschoolers.

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    Preschoolers are very difficult as their attention span is minimal and their retention is about as bad. Keep it short, simple and active. Concentrate only on one or two messages. The idea about bringing two along and having one explain as the other dresses is a good idea, or if they are willing, have the teacher put the gear on so the kids can see that under all that scary stuff is someone they know and love and would never hurt them. Let the kids try on various parts of the gear (be careful with the helmet and make sure the gear is clean)so they can get used to the idea of their "friends" in their. Find some pictures of firefighters in gear that the children can colour prior to you going so they can visually recognize the figure of a firefighter. Never force a child who is fearful to participate. Let them stand back and watch the other children interact, it will help them feel more comfortable.
    Good luck!!

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    I have done many preschool programs-my mother is a teacher that does a preschool class. Guess who gets to do the presentations for her class. I have found that if you take it slow and start form the bottom up (putting your gear on) and keep it interactive ask them if it is the same person ect. It ususally does not scare them. Also explian to them what each piece is for as you are putting them on. I always wait till the last to put the mask on. Then do a little talking with the mask on as you put your helmet on. Once everything is on start taking it off in reverse order.

    Have I scared kids - yes. I have also found that if you talk to the teacher she will have a pretty good idea of who might get scared and have them stay by that(those) children to help them out. Remember to remind them that just because you have that equipment on does not change you into a monster. It is your work uniform that must be worn for your safety.Yes you can even mention it is just like a police officer in his uniform-course our job is more dangerous.

    Just relax and have fun with the kids if you are uptight they will notice. Let them set the pace for what you are doing and let them ask the questions as you go.

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    We do the same as the above. Have one talking and explaining and one dressing. We start from the bottom and work up as well, from the boots to the pants to the coat etc and leave the mask for last. We also try to count the buckles and snaps on the turnout gear. Then I get on my hands and knees and they can come and touch me and hear me breath. I keep talking, that's the key. I also try to show them my eyes in the mask to show them that I am still the same person.

    Another thing we do is a hands on activity. One can be firefighters hold a blanket close to the ground on a piece of carpet and to demonstrate to crawl low in smoke, have them "do the army crawl" under the blanket.

    Or...one that is a big hit is spraying a fire hose. We set a 1 1/2" section to the station standpipe with just low hydrant pressure and a nozzle. We set an orange cone on top of a step ladder and assist them in spraying the hose to "knock down the fire." They like that.

    Good luck,
    ____________________
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

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    Originally posted by firenresq77
    When we do the classes for the kids, we have 1 person doing the presentation and will have 1 other person be the one to get the gear on and pack up. Have the one getting dressed start in their uniform. Then as they start to get dressed, have the person doing the presentation explain the whole process.

    Better yet, have the 1 person talking, and the other helping the teacher into the bunker gear (if they are willing), then they can identify their teacher (A common sight and friend) with firefighter in gear... instead of a stranger becoming even stranger..

    Also standard kids stuff, after you get in pants/boots, stay on your knees, this will avoid the "towering over" the kids and scaring them.. associate the breathing with a character they know, trivia.. who does he/she sound like, darth vader..(but remember, Firefighter John is a good guy..)

    Use title as an association.. Firefighter John, Firefighter Billy, Firefighter Smith. Soon All Firefighters will be "friends"

    Part of the reward is "if you are good we can go out and look at the fire truck". and Stop drop and roll is a good fun thing to practice for the kids...

    Coloring books are a great item.

    One thing I used to do was if a FF was in the gear, have him crawl on the ground, tell them, a firefighter is hard of hearing in the fire suit, if he does nothear you (when in a building) and he is searching for you, scream at him, tug at his clothing, hit him... and as you do this, tug hard on the arm or leg (dont pull the boots off of course), give him a moderate punch in the arm or thigh (not enough to hurt) but let them know that if they do that when their house is on fire they wont hurt him (and it entertains them watching you hit and slap and punch and grab and pull at the big mean bannanna...

    Gerard

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    I used to do the Darth Vader comparison-But low and behold another classic bites the dust. Not many kids even know who Darth Vader is anymore-we are showing our age.

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