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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Children's Fire Literacy

Tips for Firefighters

It is important for kids to learn about fire safety and other issues related to fires, and a firefighter reading to them and talking to them can help drive home the importance of these issues and help them remember what they've learned. If you will be teaching kids about fire literacy by reading to them, follow these tips so you and your program's attendees can have fun and learn a lot.

Before the presentation:

  • Choose a book that looks to be written for the age group to which you will be reading/presenting.
  • For longer books, choose ahead of time the portion of the book you will read. Ten to fifteen minutes of reading is enough.
  • Read the book or the portion of the book you plan to read out loud as practice.
  • You should have a list of questions to ask. When creating your own questions, keep in mind what kinds of questions will help children/teens to remember what you read or will help them to be fire safety conscious.

At the presentation:

  • Don't forget to smile!
  • Introduce yourself and tell a little about your fire department.
  • Explain briefly what your specific duties are at your department.
  • Tell the group that they can ask you questions after you are done reading, and that you will be asking them questions too.
  • If you are reading a picture book, be sure to show each page to the group.
  • If there are only occasionally pictures, remember to show and explain them.


For more tips on presenting to kids, check out this article published by Fire Engineering: "Simple Steps for Top-Notch Fire Safety Presentations for Kids" by Mike Saunders.