When helping your children learn about the historical wildfire events in Sonoma County and the City, or active Wildfire events in other places in California, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Educating children about wildfire preparedness and conveying the seriousness of wildfires can be tricky and it is never the goal to instill unnecessary fear. Here are some strategies to effectively educate children about wildfire preparedness:
1. Age-Appropriate Education: Tailor the information to the child's age and maturity level. Younger children can learn basic fire safety rules, while older kids can grasp more complex concepts about fire behavior and evacuation procedures. Luckily there are several great books about fire safety and wildfire preparedness at our local Sonoma County Library locations in Santa Rosa. Talk to a librarian today for good book recommendations. Utilize visual aids like maps, diagrams, and videos to help children understand wildfire concepts.
2. Interactive Learning: We encourage parents and guardians to involve their children in the family's wildfire preparedness plans. Help them stay engaged by helping with the process, building their own emergency Go-Bag, and role-playing during emergency plan practice. Discuss escape routes, emergency contacts, and the importance of staying informed about wildfire risks. Practice ensures that children know what to do in case of an emergency and helps reduce anxiety during actual situations. Educate children about creating defensible spaces around their homes by planting fire-resistant vegetation and clearing debris. Encourage them to participate in garden maintenance.
3. Stay Informed Together: Attend community events the Santa Rosa Fire Department organizes to receive educational material about wildfire preparedness, emergency or weather alerts used by the City of Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Fire Department, and how to call 911. Children can actively participate and ask questions of the staff who are prepared to help.
4. Talk to the schools your children attend to review their wildfire/evacuation procedures, and how they handle school days with poor air quality due to wildfire drift smoke. Ask your educators if they have any planned presentations or assignments that discuss public safety and community helpers and/or wildfire preparedness.
Parents can visit SRCity.org/WildfireReady to learn more about wildfire preparedness in Santa Rosa and for more resources to help your children prepare can visit HERE for a parent resource library from CalFire.
Educators can visit HERE for Kindergarten through 12th grade lesson plans offered by the National Park Service and CLICKE HERE for 10 Minute Lesson plans for Fire and Life Safety Lessons through the National Fire Protection Agency