October is such a fun month for kids with Halloween to look forward to and fall festivals all month long. It’s also Fire Prevention Month, a month-long observance to educate parents and kids with home fire prevention tips and advice on what to do if one occurs. It may not sound as exciting as hayrides and bobbing for apples, but it’s something to prioritize and bring awareness to this month. So in between trips to the pumpkin patch and decorating for Halloween, see if you can squeeze in some activities to expose your kids to fire safety and awareness.

Here are a few ideas:

Fire Extinguisher Scavenger Hunt

Have your kids search for and identify all the fire extinguishers in your home. You should have two to three fire extinguishers in your home or one on each level, plus one in the garage. Make sure you and your kids can reach them and explain to them how and when to use it. You can also have your kids count all the smoke alarms in your home and make sure they have working batteries.

Escape Route Obstacle Course

If a fire were to break out in your home, would your kids know what to do? If you have a two-story home, this is especially important. Get your family together and discuss the escape route together. Plan at least two ways out of each room, if possible, and choose a place to meet outside your home. You can draw it out on a map and then practice it together.

Conduct an Experiment

You can teach kids about the connection between oxygen and fire with this easy experiment. Light a candle and then cover it with a jar. You can explain that fire needs oxygen to burn. Kids associate blowing air with putting out birthday candles, but you can teach them that for larger fires, blowing can actually fuel the fire.

Visit a Local Fire Station

Most fire stations welcome guests and provide tours. Kids can see firefighting equipment first-hand and hear some home fire safety tips from the pros. Portland’s 30 fire stations welcome visitors by appointment at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. Visiting the Historic Belmont Firehouse and Safety Learning Center in SE Portland is another option and is open to the public Wednesdays from 9 am to 3 pm. Kids can learn about fire safety and slide down a pole in a 100+-year-old fire station.

Many schools recognize Fire Prevention Month and incorporate lessons and activities in the classroom. You can reach out to your teacher and offer to schedule a tour for your child’s class. Alternatively, if you’d like to provide free fire safety materials for your classroom, feel free to contact me.