Amanda Harbin, who heads the program for the fire department, said she hopes to teach the kids the importance of having a fire plan at home, in case they are ever faced with a situation.
She also said the program is important to forge bonds between the students and the local fire departments so they know who to turn to for help. The program reaches students from HeadStart to fourth grade, and, thanks to the Forrestry Commission, includes a very convincing Smokey the Bear costume that always catches the kids’ attention.
The department hosts various fundraisers throughout the year to fund the program’s materials, and each child takes home a plastic fireman’s hat and a goodie bag filled with items to remind them of the importance of fire safety.
“It’s our way to give back to the community,” Harbin said.
The National Fire Protection Association hosts a Fire Prevention Week each fall to commemorate the great Chicago fire in 1871.
Those materials help teach students about how to prevent fires, what warning signs to watch for and what to do if there is a fire on or near them.
This year’s theme focused on kitchen fires, since the kitchen is where most house fires start.