Community Risk Reduction in Schools

Community risk reduction programs are a vital part of the community’s success. At West Pierce Fire & Rescue, the Prevention Division focuses on a variety of fire and injury prevention programs. This type of education provides families with the knowledge to make educated choices about fire and life safety risks. The most successful community risk reduction programs at West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR) are those taught in the schools. Students who attend schools in Lakewood, University Place and Steilacoom have the opportunity to take part in these programs.

In preschool, the focus is on general fire safety and teaching children that firefighters are friends who want to help them. These fire safety messages are reinforced in Kindergarten, with additional topics such as creating a fire escape plan and what to do if they hear a smoke alarm.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. First grade students learn about child passenger safety and the importance of booster seats to stay safe in cars. Fire safety topics are reinforced once again in second grade to include the science behind fires. This program teaches children about the fire triangle and tips for preventing fires in the home.

The programs for grades 3-5 move to more advanced concepts. In third grade, disaster preparedness is taught to help students better understand how to prepare their family and home. In fourth grade, the focus is wheeled sports, such as skateboards, scooters and bikes. Topics include how to properly fit a bike helmet, rules of riding your bike on the road or sidewalk and wearing bright colors so drivers can see you.

Around age 12, children are starting to babysit, watch younger siblings and may take on more responsibility around the home. In fifth grade, the first aid program focuses on personal safety and when to call 9-1-1 or an adult for help. It also addresses basic first aid skills, such as assisting someone who is choking and how to control bleeding. The education students receive from these programs at each grade level are experiences that can stay with them for a lifetime and make a real difference.

The more families reached with these programs, the stronger, safer and more resilient the community becomes. WPFR values the strong relationships with local schools and is excited to continually partner with teachers and administrators throughout the school year.

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