Safe Community Project


Teaching Fire Safety in Elementary Schools

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It was a bright, sunny Tuesday morning at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Los Angeles, and the air was filled with excitement. The school, part of the LAUSD, was welcoming MySafe:LA (a Division of The Safe Community Project). The entire auditorium was buzzing as MySafe:LA members and a Fire Engine from nearby LAFD Fire Station 14 entered the playground, shiny and imposing.

School children crowded around a female representative from MySafe:LA, with two male members from the Los Angeles Fire Department in the background.

Mrs. Gonzalez, a third-grade teacher, gathered her students in the auditorium, and soon thereafter, public safety officers from MySafe:LA began their presentation. Using an interactive PowerPoint presentation, MySafe:LA taught the kids about being “the family hero,” how to recognize dangers in their home, the fire triangle, and much more. 

A series of fun video clips were added to the presentation, and the students were especially quiet and respectful as the videos played. Considering the lockdown from the pandemic was still in the rear-view mirror for most people, today wasn’t just another school day; it was a day the students would learn how to stay safe in ways they had never imagined.

Okay, everyone,” MySafe:LA instructor Luis Fierro clapped his hands to get their attention. “Today, we’re going to learn something very important — fire safety. And we have real firefighters here to show you their fire engine if you pay close attention!”

As the presentation came to a close, Luis and other MySafe:LA members helped teachers lead the students onto the playground, where Engine 14 members were waiting to show off their apparatus. 

Man giving live presentation about fire engine to school children.

Captain Brooks, a seasoned firefighter with a friendly smile, stepped forward. Next to him was Firefighter Zaccaro. He wore his full gear, and the children giggled nervously at the sound of his voice muffled slightly by the mask. “Good morning, kids!,” said Firefighter Zaccaro. “When I’m wearing this safety gear, I sound like a famous movie star. Who is it?”

The children shouted in unison, “Darth Vader!” Captain Brooks laughed and said, “Absolutely right. Remember, if you are in your home when there’s a fire and you cannot escape, don’t hide. Our firefighters will come and find you, and they’ll all sound like Darth Vader.”

Let’s review what you learned from MySafe:LA,” Captain Brooks said bringing his firefighters and MySafe:LA members right up to the students. 

The first lesson was Stop, Drop, and Roll. Luis Fierro from MySafe:LA demonstrated, falling to the ground and rolling back and forth. The children laughed, then practiced themselves on the soft grass, shouting, “Stop, drop, and roll!” every time they tumbled. Mrs. Gonzalez took pictures, capturing the joy and learning happening all at once.

After a few more reviews, the firefighters showed the students around their fire engine. As they were doing so, Los Angeles Fire Commissioner Jimmy Woods Grey arrived and joined the educational activities.

Hello, kids!” Ms. Woods Grey said. “I’m a Fire Commissioner, but before that, I was a teacher in the LAUSD! Can you believe that?” The students giggled and waved their hands in excitement. 

The final activity for the day was to present the students with their “Junior Fire Inspector” ID Cards and to congratulate them on learning about fire safety from MySafe:LA. 

School children in front of Los Angeles Fire Department fire engine.

Once everyone had received their I.D. card, Mrs. Gonzalez gathered her class. “See how well you did? Remember, what we learned today isn’t just for fun. It’s important to remember these tips to stay safe.

The children left school chattering excitedly, clutching their I.D. cards, their minds filled with new knowledge and respect for the flames they so often saw in movies and shows.

As the sun set over Martin Luther King Elementary, Mrs. Gonzalez looked at the photos she’d taken, smiling at the thought of how much her students had learned. Fire Safety Day with MySafe:LA wasn’t just an event; it was a crucial lesson that could one day save a life. And for her, that made all the effort worthwhile.

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