Fire and burn injuries and deaths are not a high-risk issue for school age children. However, teaching fire safety behaviors to young children as well as older children with self-care and child-care responsibilities can be a life-saving measure. Despite Massachusetts smoke alarm laws, many fatal fires occur in residences in which smoke alarms are missing or non-functioning. Smoke alarms can provide a life-saving warning should a house fire occur. Persons living in older homes are at especially high risk.

School and Community Goals

  • teach children: "STOP, DROP, ROLL & COOL";
  • teach children fire exiting procedures;
  • teach children how to access emergency help;
  • teach children basic home fire prevention practices; encourage family involvement through take-home activities;
  • refer students with fire setting behavior (following school policy) to appropriate services immediately;
  • teach children about hot liquids;
  • inform parents that hot water heaters should be set for 125°or less; and
  • inform parents that children should not play near the stove or barbeque.

Suggested Activities

Provide fire safety instruction (utilizing speakers, curricula, videos, hands-on activities, take-home checklists or reminders); incorporate information into other subject areas. Organize health and safety fairs and poster or writing contests. Practice fire drills in school settings and simulate home fire exits. Have students "crawl low" under a sheet held to simulate level of good air during a fire. Have students practice STOP, DROP, ROLL, COOL while extinguishing "felt flames" taped to their clothes.

Resources: Local fire prevention officers, Office of the State Fire Marshal, nurse educators with hospital burn units, Learn Not To Burn and Risk Watch curricula, videos, handouts, SAFE KIDS Fire Safety Magazines, "Fire Safe House" or "Pluggie - The Fire Plug" demonstration items if locally available, Fall River Fire Fighters Memorial Museum, Inc. (Juvenile Firesetters Program)

Special Note: National Fire Prevention Week is the first week in October; Burn Awareness Week is the second week in February. Mass. law requires schools to meet fire drill regulations according to 527 Code Massachusetts Regulation (CMR) 10.09.

For More Information

Injury Prevention and Control Program, DPH
Phone: 617-624-5413 Fax: 617-624-5075

Department of Fire Services, Office of the Fire Marshal
Phone: 978-567-3381 Fax: 978-567-3199


This information is provided by the School Health Services within the Department of Public Health.