"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

Not Just For Kids


National Fire Prevention Week is held during the second week in October. Many fire departments have an open house or hold fire safety programs during this time. National Fire Prevention Week serves to reassure children that caring adults are there to help keep them safe from harm. But their main purpose is to help you make your home and family safe from the dangers of fire and other hazards. The more you know about fire, the better you can protect yourself. There are many things you can do to protect yourself, your home and family from fires and other hazards.

Fire Dangers

  • Cigarettes, matches, lighters, open flames.
  • Electrical fuses, loose wiring connections, overloaded circuits, short circuits.
  • Misuse of flammable liquids, greases, oils, and waxes.
Kinds of Fires

  • Solid or dry fires, such as wood fires can be put out with water.
  • Flammable liquid (gasoline) or hot fat (grease) fires can be put out with baking soda, dry ice, and other dry chemicals.
  • Electrical and gas fires can be extinguished with foam.

Fire Escape Planning at Home

Make sure your family has a fire escape plan for your home and practice it regularly. Regular practice is the best way to help prevent panic. This is especially true for children. Be sure every family member knows what to do. Creating a home fire escape plan is one of the most important actions you can take to protect your own life and the lives of others.

Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home and test them often. Replace dead batteries immediately.

Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room. Then plan a main escape route and an alternate route from each room.

Make certain that everyone understands if they hear the smoke alarm, or hear someone shouting "FIRE", they should immediately evacuate the home.

Have a pre-arranged meeting place outside of your home. If a fire occurs, wait there and make sure no one is left inside. Someone should be sent to phone the fire department.

Be sure that everyone in your home knows not to re-enter a burning building for any reason. Firefighters are properly equipped and trained to perform rescue operations.

If anyone in your home is unable to evacuate without assistance, assign someone to assist them.

Make sure your babysitter understands your fire escape plan.

Fire Safety Tips

If you smell smoke, see flames, or are awakened by your smoke alarm, don't panic, but calmly get everyone out of the house as fast as you can.

A fire is capable of creating toxic smoke and hot gases. During a fire, remember that the air is best near the floor. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl to an exit.

Call the fire department from a neighbor's house using 9-1-1. Give the address and exact location of the fire. Don't hang up until the call taker obtains all the necessary information. Try to have someone in the street to direct the fire trucks to the fire. Meet the firefighters when they arrive, and tell them if anyone is trapped inside.

If there is a fire in a tall building, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Close doors behind you to slow the spread of the fire. If you are trapped in an upper story room, open the window and shout for help.

Before opening any door, feel it. If the door is hot, do not open it; use an alternative exit.

If your clothes catch on fire, don't run. Stop where you are. Drop down to the ground. Roll back and forth to smother the flames, while protecting your face with your hands.

History of Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week dates back to the Great Chicago Fire that occurred on October 9, 1871. It destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2000 acres in 27 hours. More than 250 people were killed and 100,000 were left homeless. The cause of the fire was never determined. The city of Chicago quickly rebuilt, and within a couple of years, residents began celebrating the restoration and memorializing the anniversary of the fire with festivities. The 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire was commemorated with the first National Fire Prevention Day. This led to National Fire Prevention Week, which has been officially observed since 1925.


The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix contains the world's largest fire history exhibit, featuring almost an acre of vintage firefighting equipment inside a huge air-conditioned building. It has over 100 pieces dating from 1725 to 1955 including steamers, hand- and horse-drawn vehicles, and motor-powered fire engines from around the world. There are over 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus dating from a 1725 horse-drawn carriage to 1969 motorized vehicles, and even a horse-drawn ladder sled. Most of the collection is American, but they also have some items from England, France, Austria, Germany, and Japan.

This family-friendly museum has a play area with hands-on fire safety exhibits for kids to explore, a fire pole to slide down, and a 1916 fire engine to climb around on. There is an old switchboard exhibit as well as an operating alarm center. The Hall of Flame also sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes which includes a 9/11 memorial. They also have a new 2,000-square-foot Wildland Firefighting gallery. Finally, there is a gift shop with lots of t-shirts and firefighting memorabilia. A mini-theater and guided tour is available for school groups. The Hall of Flame website at www.hallofflame.org has a complete directory with photos of all the museum's holdings. The museum is located at 6101 E. VanBuren in Phoenix, AZ. For more information, call (602) 275-3473.

What Would You Do…?

1.) …if you found some matches or a lighter? A.) Light them; B.) Hide them; C.) Give them to a grown up.

2.) …if your house was on fire? A.) Hide under your bed; B.) Hide in the closet; C.) Find the safest way out and go to your meeting spot.

3.) …if your clothes catch on fire? A.) Run as fast as you can; B.) Jump up and down; C. Stop, drop and roll.

(Answers at bottom of page.)


1 lb. ground beef
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 (16 ounce) can tomatoes, crushed
2 Tbs. chopped green chilies
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Method: Sauté beef, onion and garlic until beef is brown. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.


3 lbs. chili meat
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. oregano
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. cumin
Garlic to taste, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
12 red peppers
4 or 5 chili pods
2 heaping teaspoons flour

Method: Sauté meat. Combine all ingredients except flour in a heavy pot. Simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes. Thicken chili with mixture of flour and a little water. Simmer another 30 minutes. You will need to call the fire department to hose out your mouth!


Fire! by Joy Masoff, 1998.

Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons, 1984.

Fire Fighters by Robert Maass, 1989.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy, 1995.

Wildfires by Seymour Simon, 1996.


HELLFIGHTERS (1968, G) John Wayne stars as the head of a team of oil-well firefighters.

TOWERING INFERNO (1974, PG) Fire breaks out in a San Francisco skyscraper.

BACKDRAFT (1991, R) Two brothers from a family of firefighters match wits with an arsonist.

FIREPROOF (2008, PG) Fire Captain Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind.


www.firepreventionweek.org (Fire Prevention Week's official home page.)

www.usfa.fema.gov/kids (U.S. Fire Administration kids' page.)

www.sparky.org (The National Fire Protection Agency's website for kids.)

www.usfa.fema.gov/safety/sheets.htm (Fire safety and education fact sheets.)

www.kiddesafety.com/ProtectingYourHome.shtml (How to protect your family from a fire.)

What Would You Do…?
Answers = C for all of the above.


These pages are a continuous work in progress.
Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
All rights reserved.

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