Saturday, October 9, 2010

October is Fire Safety Month - FYI - Are You Prepared?


and Roll! 

3 Commands you never forget when learning how to self-extinguish a fire on an individual.

How do you teach these procedures to an individual with autism or other developmental, intellectual or mental disabilities?

How do you teach this to a person with sensory integration issues?

School Can Help -
We are fortunate that our son's elementary school has a good relationship with the local fire departments.

Throughout the year, the students learn various fire safety rules from fire fighter who come to the school several times a year.

The students learn not to play with fire.
The students learn not to stay in a burning building, if they can get out.
The students learn how to dial 911 and call for help.
The students learn how to crawl through tunnels as a way of emulating crawling in a smoke-filled room.

The students receive a red fire hat and fire safety books to read at home with their parents/caregivers.

The students also know that fire fighters are our friends.
Each year, the Principal rewards the students for improving their reading skills.  The firefighters bring their big fire trucks and setup a fun waterfall right on the school grounds!

We are glad for these life application lessons at school.

And yes, our son's school includes all of the students with special needs in the trainings and the fun.

Pre-Autism Diagnosis:
After 2 years of interacting with fire fighters and their water trucks, our 5 year old son with autism is much more tolerant of the fire truck sounds, the fast-moving water and the crawling tunnels.

We have exposed our son to the fire fighters, fire trucks at fairs, neighborhood fire stations and fire concepts from a baby. 

With the onset of autism, sensory stimulation had to be addressed.  Our son started not enjoying hearing the fire truck sirens as they passed by in the neighborhood.  He would cover his ears and scream and cry and hide in a fetal position.
New South Wales Fire fighters group up before ...Image via Wikipedia
But, if we were driving in the car, he would just cover his ears, because he wanted to see the flashing lights, but not hear the siren.

Now with knowing that our son is sensitive to loud, fasting moving sounds and objects, we help him to focus on what he does like about the fire trucks. 

Our son has enjoyed visiting the fire stations every year with Dada since a baby!  We have one in the neighborhood just around the corner.  He has visited this one, the main station, and a city station.  This year, they are planning to visit the company that builds fire trucks in our neighboring parish.  How exciting!
This is such a wonderful time for male-bonding and learning about safety, too.
Our son really likes the fire truck with all of the equipment on it.

At Home -

Reading books about fire fighters and dogs is a good way to explain fire without the child becoming fearful.

Dressing up as fire fighters and play acting is good, too.  We take pictures and film it!
We let our son watch as we change the batteries in the smoke detectors each year.  Actually, we let him install the batteries, and assure him that when he is taller he will be able to stand on the stool and put the detectors back on the ceilings and walls.

When the firefighters had to come to our home to check our burnt kitchen outlets,  our 5 year old son was not alarmed.  He just got out one of his many fire hats!  Although he did not say anything to them, he was not hesitant to approach them and touch all of the tools on the belt and in their bags.  He just periodically came into the kitchen to watch what they were doing to the walls.

And Moommy is so proud when he points to her 'Fire Ops 101' Class photo of her climbing to the top of a smoke-filled building during leadership community fire training!  We think that seeing his mother in partial fire gear climbing an actual fire truck ladder is such an encouragement to him.

Wonder if our son is thinking about being a firefighter?!   
You never know~


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