Fire Safety Tips for Every Family

Learn basic fire prevention and safety rules from the Denver Firefighters Museum, which houses one of America's oldest original fire stations.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

October is National Fire Safety Month, a good opportunity to remind everyone of some basic fire prevention and safety rules.

One good place to learn about fire safety and prevention is at the Denver Firefighters Museum in Colorado. The museum houses one of Denver’s oldest original fire stations, built in 1909. It also includes programs focused on teaching kids and adults about fire safety.

Tracy Tisher, director of fire safety programs at the museum, talked to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps about what kids can do to stay safe.

"Number one is to bug your parents to change the batteries on the smoke detector, because that's basically your first line of defense," says Tisher. "We need to know when a fire happens, and the dangerous ones are the ones when you're all asleep."

"Number two would be that if there's a fire you need to get out fast and don't try to take anything with you," advises Tisher. "Don't try to bring your favorite toy or your pet with you. Your parents and the firefighters can worry about pets, you worry about getting yourself out fast."

In the case of a smoke-filled room, adds Tisher, "crawl under the smoke because smoke rises in the air." The air on the ground is cleaner and easier to breathe.

Tisher reminds kids that they shouldn't get too nervous about fires, especially if they’re prepared.

"[Fires] don't happen often, but when they do you need to be ready," she said.

Along with safety tips, the museum houses the city's fire history. Tischer talked about a 1950s fire at the Denver Athletic Club caused by an electrical spark.

"Everyone was getting ready for a Valentine's Day dance, and putting up lots of paper decorations," she said. Sparks caught the decorations on fire resulting in a four-alarm blaze, one of the worst in the city.

The strength of a blaze is measured in alarms, or number of fire stations needed to respond to the fire. The more alarms that have to be sounded at various fire stations, the more "alarms" are assigned to indicate fire strength. The largest fire is a five-alarm fire, which is very rare.

More Fire Safety Resources


Scholastic Kids Press Corps

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of 32 student reporters who report "news for kids, by kids." Sports, politics, and entertainment are among the topics they cover.