Just because we aren’t in school doesn’t mean the learning stops.
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 WPFR are those taught in the schools and currently within Lakewood and University Place.
Each grade level focuses on a specific safety topic:
In preschool, the focus is on general fire safety and teaching children that firefighters are friends who want to help them. This in-person class is a way for firefighters to put all of their protective gear on in front of the students and show them piece by piece why they wear it. When they have everything on, they look very different from when they started. This reinforces that while a firefighter may look different, they are still there to help and you should not be afraid of them.
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, one of two topics is covered; water safety or disaster preparedness. A water safety curriculum is taught utilizing a partnership with the Lakewood YMCA, while disaster preparedness is covered by WPFR to teach kids how to work as a family to prepare their home should a disaster strike.
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 our community becomes. WPFR values the strong relationships with local schools and looks forward to partnering with teachers and administrators throughout the school year.