October is Fire Prevention Month. More specifically, Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday October 4, 2020 to Saturday October 10, 2020. As with most things in 2020, our selection of activities is limited, but we will continue to update this list with any new additions. Your young firefighters can watch this video from the National Fire Protection Agency (“NFPA”) about the Great Chicago Fire anytime. It features author Lauren Tarshsis (of the “I survived” books) interviewing Casey Grant of the NFPA.
What a great month to indulge your future firefighter’s love of big red engines, and the Twin Cities has some opportunities for you to do that. There are actually two fire-related museums in Minnesota and several stations offers open houses during the month. Libraries are even getting into the act with story times starting in September.
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Fire Prevention Month Activities at Home
The good news is that, according to FEMA, children 14 and under are 50% less likely to die in a fire than the general population. The U.S. average over the last 10 years has only been 300-400 child deaths per year. I start there in hopes that I don’t add to your late-night worries. We have enough of those.
That said, according to Stanford Children’s Health, “Most child play related home fires begin in a bedroom or living room where children are left unattended. The majority of these fires are started by children playing with matches or lighters.” A little fire safety education can go a long way. We recommend starting with the list below:
- Test Your Smoke Alarms: Let your kids press the button while you cover your ears.
- Check Off A Safety List: This is a good month to review the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Winter Safety Checklist: For Your Home as a family. Let your kids check things off as you finish the checklist.
- Screen Time Fire Safety Fun: The kids page of the National Fire Prevention Association is Sparky.org. It offers a variety of printable activities and lesson plans as well as videos games and other fun things to explore.
- Read About It: Pick up some books about firefighters and fire safety at the library.
- Take Advantage of your library’s Bookflix subscription, where they pair a fun fiction book with an informative non-fiction book and add in some games at the end. Bookflix has two fire-themed pairings:
- Activities from Pinterest: Check out these fun ideas we’ve gathered on Pinterest.
2020 Fire Station Open Houses
We are not seeing a lot of open houses this year, but we did find a few. We are keeping 2019’s list up, just so we can all plan ahead for 2021.
Jan 25: Fire Department Family Fun Day | Minnetonka Fire Station 1, 14550 Minnetonka Blvd
Meet firefighters and check out their trucks. Then slide down a 20-ft inflatable slide and enjoy firehouse chili and hot cider. 10am-1pm.
October 5: Shakopee Fire Department Virtual Tour | Fire Station 1
5:30-6pm. Also watch for more virtual fire safety programming all week – October 4th through 10th 2020.
October 11: Lakeville Firehouse Bingo | Fire Station 1
Not really an “open house” this year, and not free, but a family friendly way to support your local firehouse. Prizes up to $1000. $20 gets you 9 games of bingo ($25/door)
Story Time With Firefighters
October 2 @ 10:30am: Enjoy fast-paced excitement with a special Virtual Firefighter Storytime with the Victoria Fire Department on Carver County Library Facebook video page.
Fire Station Tours Anytime
Many Fire Stations offer tours by appointment. If you don’t see your local station on this list, you can all their non-emergency number to inquire about tours.
- Saint Paul: To schedule a free tour, choose a fire station from this list, call the Fire Captain of the station to arrange a tour time.
- Minnetonka: Tours can be scheduled through the public education specialists by calling 952.939.8331.
- Inver Grove Heights: Call the Fire Operations Supervisor at 651-450-4303 to book a 30-45 minute tour.
- St. Louis Park: Offers tours by appointment by calling 952-924-2595.
- Burnsville: Contact Fire Administration at 952-895-4570 to schedule a tour.
- Eden Prairie: Station tours can be scheduled most Mondays and Fridays during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.mpm. Call the Fire Prevention Bureau 952-949-8556 at least a week in advance of all requests.
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Museums Visit for Fire Prevention Month
Unfortunately, both of these museums are closed and probably will be for the remainder of the year. Check back in spring of 2021.
Firefighters Hall and Museum – Currently Closed.
Located in Northeast Minneapolis near Edison High School, this small interactive museum offers kids a chance to climb on fire engines and try on firefighter gear.
Hinckley Fire Museum – Currently Closed – Plans to re-open in May 2021.
Located a little over an hour north of the Twin Cities, this museum memorializes the 1894 Hinckley Fire.
- Hinckley Fire Museum