In my role as a working mother, I wear many hats. (And notice I didn’t say work outside the home, work at home, stay at home or any other qualifier). But since I left the corporate world five years ago, happily watching the dust fly as I took off down the road, I knew the freelance life would never be easy. In fact, I never planned for the freelance life but it definitely suits me.
Besides writing here several times a week, I also write a monthly parenting column over at The Stir, focus on content strategy for She Buys Cars, and work on digital media strategy for a fire department.
Evan and I supporting the fire department one of the National Night Out events in September
Bet you didn’t know that last one. I don’t talk a lot about it because working in social media in the public sector is a whole different ballgame but I can tell you that it has been one of my most rewarding work experiences. Not only do I have an amazing amount of respect for the knowledge and training that our firefighters and paramedics have but I’m also in awe of the dangers they face on a regular basis. Always low key and humble, these firefighters are truly every day heroes.
Since I’ve starting working in the department, I’ve re-educated myself on all the ways to keep a home safe. The state I live in, for example, requires an automatic sprinkler system in all new residential construction. It’s an added expense but one I gladly paid for when we purchased our home here two years ago. All it takes is for one incident to be classified as a “sprinkler save” for me to know it’s worth it.
It’s been an education process for my son, Evan, too. Not only did we have to explain what sprinklers were and why they’re such a good idea, but we also had to explain our new smoke alarm system.
One day, my husband, who is actually a good cook (I swear, he is), was a little too aggressive with his cooking and set off the smoke alarm. My son was down in the basement and suddenly heard not only the alarm but a woman’s voice saying, “FIRE! FIRE!” Admittedly, I didn’t know our system did that either but he came screaming up the stairs terrified that the house was burning down.
After calming him down, we explained how smoke alarms work and why they went off even though our house wasn’t on fire (thankfully). In fact, we talk about fire a lot in our house.
Remember this book?
We used to flip to this page and as I was reading the text, Evan would point to the fireplace and say HOT! True story: “hot” was actually his first word.
And now that he’s older (2nd grade, actually), they are spending time in school this month focusing on Fire Prevention Month. He actually came home one day and pointed to our tiny little crabapple tree out front and told me it was our family meeting place.
Huh? I said, wondering what we would be doing by the tree.
Then he showed me his pictures.
Always have two ways out!! He showed me several drawings of his planned escape from our house in the event of a fire and how he had designated that tree as our family meeting place. (I later explained that the tiny tree might be a little too close to the house but that he had the right idea).
This week, we’re continuing the conversation in a fun way. In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, we’re playing games!
To help kids better understand and appreciate the importance of fire prevention, the NFPA has created this awesome site for kids called SparkySchoolhouse.org.
(this is just a partial screenshot of the site)
Not only is it a great resource for parents and educators to talk to kids about fire safety but they have links to videos like “What’s That Sound?” – a dope throwback to the days of Run DMC. (And your kids will have no clue!)
But what my son has enjoyed the most is downloading the Sparky the Fire Dog app: The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms.
With the app (available for iOS and Android), you can read an interactive story that has kids helping solve a crime while replacing smoke alarms and learning fire tips. It was totally age appropriate as a voice read the story while the words were highlighting. He was learning while he was learning!
But being a boy, he was most interested in the video game where Sparky had to collect smoke alarms in the sky but had to keep enough battery power to keep him elevated. The kicker was that at the end of every level, he had to solve a math problem to continue. It was as if this app was written exactly for him. Of course, I snickered when he proclaimed the math problem to be “so easy” and then got it wrong. He’s learning!
The timing for us couldn’t have been better. The weather is getting cooler and we’re looking for more indoor activities that don’t involve sitting in front of the TV and drooling. And in the past week, not only did Dad set off our smoke alarm again (he really is a good cook), but we were awakened in the middle of the night by that super annoying beep reminding us it’s time to change the batteries!
Now is a great time to be an every day hero for your kid. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Sparky Schoolhouse site with access to download the free app!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of NFPA for National Fire Prevention Week (October 6-11) and their resource for kids, Sparky.org. Clearly, I’m a believer in educating people in fire prevention at any age and all opinions are my own.