Author(s): Amy LeBeau. Published on September 1, 2015.

FOR SOME FIRE DEPARTMENTS, Fire Prevention Week, or FPW, is when much of their school outreach efforts take place. In many cases, that means school administrators crowding students into gymnasiums for one-size-fits-all fire-safety lessons delivered by firefighters. While these events can introduce kids to firefighters and the roles they play in our communities, a more layered approach to fire prevention is needed to instill meaningful safety lessons in the next generation.

For many educators, finding the right age-appropriate fire-safety materials for different grade levels can be a challenge. As a result, NFPA’s school outreach program has focused on a blended-learning approach through interactive apps and lesson plans that encompass targeted fire-safety messaging. Launched during FPW in 2013, the goals of the program were specific to not only children but also the educators using the product, including classroom teachers and members of the fire service.

As part of this year’s FPW, slated for October 4–10, we encourage fire safety educators to incorporate one of the following digital learning tools into their fire prevention activities. We encourage safety educators to read to students at local schools, afterschool programs, libraries, and fire department open houses. Once fire service members visit the classroom, they can continue to educate teachers on smoke alarms and escape planning for students. These are all valuable elements of our goal of making fire safety a year-round initiative.

Sparky’s® Brain Busters

Launching for this year’s FPW, this new app provides an interactive learning experience for students in grades 3–5. Sparky’s Brain Busters provides an educationally solid single- or multi-player trivia app experience that assesses fire safety knowledge and core subject matter embedded in curriculum-aligned questions. The app is designed for both classroom and home settings.

The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

Sparky and his friends set out to solve a mystery in The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms, a free app that teaches fire-safety skills to kids in grades 1–3. The interactive game features a compelling story, standards-aligned materials, and tappable animations. Players collect batteries and smoke alarms, then solve a math problem to move to the next level.

Rescue Dogs, Firefighting Heroes, and Science Facts eBook

Written by The New York Times bestselling authors, this free eBook is ideal for reinforcing fire-safety messages with students in grades 2–5 while building critical skills in reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and more. Rescue Dogs, Firefighting Heroes, and Science Facts meets Common Core State Standards.

Sparky’s® Birthday Surprise

This interactive learning app enhances the reading experience with fire-safety messages about what to do if a smoke alarm sounds, how to exit the home safely, and how to choose an outside meeting place. Designed for children pre-kindergarten through grade 2, the app also includes a special section for caregivers, which offers thoughtful questions intended to spark open-ended conversation and reinforce reading comprehension. This free app is aligned to common core state education standards in math and language arts.

AMY LEBEAU is senior project manager in NFPA’s Public Education Division.