Fire safety programs that occur within Liberty Schools are a cooperative effort between the Liberty Fire Department and the Liberty School District. Four areas are currently addressed for school fire safety: fire safety inspections; school response to a fire incident; fire department safety presentations; and the “Learn Not to Burn” program.
Fire Safety Inspections
Due to serious life-safety concerns of a school building, the Liberty Public Schools are inspected twice a year for fire hazards. Special attention is given to evacuation plans of the school buildings.
Although schools present a unique challenge for fire safety, a school is safer from fire than the average home. In fact, due to fire prevention activities on a nationwide level, there have been no lives lost in a school fire in the United States since 1958.
School Response to a Fire Incident
The Liberty Fire Department assists the Liberty School District personnel prepare to respond to a fire in a school. This is done by meeting with school staff to plan, implement, and practice school evacuation plans. In addition, the staff is given training on the proper use of a fire extinguisher. This training includes the actual practice with an extinguisher on a small liquid fuel fire.
Fire Department Safety Presentations
The Liberty Fire Department is well known for the variety and quality of its in-school safety presentations. These presentations are designed to meet the needs and understanding levels of the various age groups. Experience has shown that students in grades kindergarten through 5th are the most receptive to fire safety messages. However, the fire department has presentations available to all grade levels. Presentations are also available for specific classes such as cooking or industrial arts. These presentations range from Cinder the Fire Dog teaching “Stop! Drop! and Roll!” to kindergartners up to actual fire demonstrations for 5th graders and above. These presentations are coordinated through the health and safety teacher in each building.
Although most of the presentations are done in October to correspond with fire prevention week, the fire department offers programs throughout the school year.
Learn Not to Burn
In September 1998, the Liberty Fire Department started a pilot program in Lewis and Clark Elementary School to teach fire safety using the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) “Learn Not to Burn” curriculum. In May of 1999, the students and staff at Lewis and Clark received certificates of completion of this program as well as a sign to hang outside the building designating the school as a “Learn Not to Burn” school.
The “Learn Not to Burn” curriculum is a 4-step program, which teaches 14 fire safety behaviors to students in grades kindergarten to 3rd. The number and type of the safety behaviors increases with each successive year. Through repetition and reinforcement, each student learns all 14 behaviors regardless of the grade that the instruction begins.
This program, which was designed with the help of teachers, incorporates the fire safety behavior as a part of the core curriculum. This allows easier use of the program in an already busy class schedule.
After the pilot program ended the “Learn Not to Burn” curriculum was expanded to include all of the Liberty Elementary Schools starting in the 2000-2001 school year. The program is reviewed annually to look for areas of improvement.
The NFPA has received numerous accounts of children who have used the information that they learned through this program to help save their families from a fire or a threat of a fire. The Liberty Fire Department has received information on 2 such incidents in the Liberty area itself.
For more information on school safety programs contact the Liberty Fire Department at 816-439-4310.