Ahead of Fire Safety Month: Partnering with Fire Departments

While we were all teaching online, many of us reached frustration points when we heard the chirping of smoke detectors in our students' homes that signaled that they needed to replace their batteries. I heard it too, as I taught students through the computer screen, and yes- my dog went wild when he heard it. 

We can acknowledge the frustration. We can certainly remember how it gave us headaches during our hours of online instruction. 

However, we can also empathize with families. Think of how that chirping likely disrupted sleep patterns during an already heavy time.

Every time I saw a social media post about the chirping smoke detectors and how annoying it was for us as teachers, it got under my skin. I made a few posts on my social media feeds about purchasing batteries and sending them to families- and then I received some backlash for them, saying that doing that was beyond our role. 

Well, it is late September, and next month is Fire Safety Month. Most fire departments across the country host some type of fire safety awareness campaign. Many departments will send a few firefighters to schools to provide a quick session on emergency preparedness, and provide safety tips for what to do when you suspect or see a fire. 

During the month of October, many departments will also host an open house in their facility. They sometimes provide little goodies like keychains or stickers. Kids can climb into the firetrucks and pose for pictures with firefighters. Many times, they will distribute free smoke detectors. In 2020, most departments were not able to host their usual Fire Department Open House due to the pandemic. This year, many departments are resuming those events. 

It is so important that as educators, we are connected to the families that we serve. Because we have social media at our fingertips, let's use those platforms strategically to connect those we serve with needs in the community. Teachers and leaders, let's follow our community organizations online. Log on to your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account and search for the following organizations: fire department, police department, library, youth organization, and even some houses of faith. Look for Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, etc. When we follow their organizations, we are able to see their upcoming events and flyers, and see what new services are available to families in the community. It's then as simple as copying and pasting into our communication platforms (Talking Points, Seesaw, school social media accounts, text messages, classroom newsletters, etc.). Let's help our families feel connected to the community! 

Please be sure to find out if your local fire department is hosting an event. Get into their DMs or send them an email to ask if they have any free batteries or smoke detectors that they can provide if there is a family who is in need of one. Ask if they have an upcoming event that would be providing any of these things for families in the community. Simply asking the question can be a powerful way to begin a partnership.

Many of us are serving families who do not feel safe or comfortable in calling out their landlords for being compliant with laws that are there to keep them safe (like ensuring that they have working smoke detectors). Many of us are serving families who rely on space heaters during cold winter months, which can potentially pose fire hazards. Let's partner with the community to help families stay safe! 

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