November 2011 EFD Pulse

Teach Your Kids Personal Safety!

By Ryan Quinn, Paramedic/Firefighter

As parents, we want our children to be as safe as possible. We make sure their seat belts are buckled and that they know the meeting spot after a home fire drill. But what happens when we aren’t there? How do we teach our children to keep themselves safe?

It all begins with good communication. Talking with your kids and teaching them what to do if they are ever in a situation that makes them uncomfortable can make a big difference in keeping your children safe.

These are people that your child does not know, but avoid making the assumption that all strangers are “bad” people. Using the term “stranger danger” might cause anxiety in a child. Instead, consider saying “stranger safety.”

  • If your child gets separated from you, teach him or her to recognize “safe” people such as store employees with name tags and security or police officers with badges.
  • Teach your children a “hula hoop of safety.” This is their personal safety space that if a strange person enters or gets too close, they can back away or yell for help.
  • Teach your child to yell loudly. If he or she feels threatened, explain when it’s appropriate to yell “this is not my mom,” “this is not my dad” or a similar phrase.
  • Make sure your children know to never go anywhere with a stranger without asking a trusted adult or parent.

People you kids know:
This might be as important as teaching your child about strangers. We entrust our children with many different people throughout their lives, including teachers, coaches, babysitters, nannies, neighbors and extended family. Teach your children boundaries, as well as appropriate behavior, for other children and adults.

Communicate to others involved with your child that you are teaching him or her these boundaries and personal safety concepts. Knowing your child is not an easy target may deter a potential “bad” person.

Teaching children about the bad things in this world can be difficult. Sometimes this can create fear, anxiety and mistrust. Teaching effective ways to stay safe should be interactive, realistic and done with confidence. A child will pick up on the confidence that you show when you teach him or her safety plans.

Consider registering your child in the FBI’s Child ID program. The FBI recently released an iPhone app that allows you to carry the most current information and pictures of your child in one place.

Teaching children to keep themselves safe begins at home. Practice yelling and keeping safe distances while incorporating a matter-of-fact attitude and maybe even a little humor. Keep your children interested and they will most likely enjoy the lessons you are teaching.

Also, be sure to educate yourself. Talk to your local police department about family safety programs and resources. The internet provides an abundance of information, but narrow down your searches with advice from teachers and fellow parents.

Stanger Safety:

  • Have a plan. Everywhere you go, plan a safe meeting place.
  • Have a family code word that only trusted adults know.
  • Teach your child your cell phone number so you are reachable in an emergency.
  • Teach your children to never get in a car without the driver calling you first and/or using the safe family code word.
  • Have a recent photo of your children with you at all times. When going out, take a picture of your child with your cell phone so that you’ll have a record of what he or she is wearing should he or she get lost.
  • Involve help early. If you become separated from your child in a mall or grocery store, contact security, store employees or the police department. We teach our children to ask for help. Heed your own advice and do not hesitate to ask for help, too.
  • Try to label your children’s clothing in inconspicuous places. Do not publicize your child’s name to potentially dangerous strangers.
  • Teach your child to keep the doors locked at home.
  • Teach your child when and how to call 9-1-1, from both home and cell phones.

For more information, contact the Edina Police Department at 952-826-1610.


Training Keeps Skills Top-Notch

By Fire Training & Safety Battalion Chief Craig Essig

Training is an essential part of emergency services. We not only need training to keep our skills sharp, but also to stay on top of current trends and technology. Firefighters and paramedics are also required to train to stay certified by state and federal regulatory agencies.

Edina has had some unique opportunities for training recently. In September, our firefighters learned and practiced some new search-and-rescue techniques at the South Metro Public Safety Training Facility. Firefighters in a smoke-filled environment with near-zero visibility searched for mock victims through a maze-like room inside the training tower. The techniques and training were successful in teaching additional methods to find people trapped in a fire.

The Technical Rescue Team also tested its skills during a mock disaster session in St. Paul. The “disaster,” which simulated a destructive tornado, was set up to test the skill levels of the team members and teach ways to work better and more efficiently with the other departments on the State Task Force team.

In October, we were able to train in an actual house in Edina. Firefighters participated in rescue drills to save each other if a floor collapses or if a firefighter is trapped in a basement during a fire. Using a house gave us the opportunity to train in environments we may actually encounter, which made the training more realistic.

In November, we’ll have another unique opportunity when a building collapse will be simulated in Minneapolis. Later in the month, a “live fire” training session at the Training Facility will take place.

For more information, contact Essig at 952-826-0329.


Fire Marshal's Corner

By Edina Fire Marshal Tom Jenson

Fireplaces often conjure up images of warmth and comfort, but they also represent a significant source of home heating fires. Creosote, a sticky, oily, combustible substance that is created when wood does not burn completely, rises into the chimney as a liquid and deposits on the chimney walls. Creosote buildup plays a role in nearly a quarter of all home heating fires each year.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are teaming up to reduce the risk of these and other home heating fires this December, January and February, when half of all U.S. home fires occur. As part of their joint fire safety campaign, “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires,” both organizations are putting out reminders that chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified professional.

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove or any other heating equipment and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. Also, make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room, which could start a fire. Never leave a fireplace fire unattended, particularly when children are present. Ashes should be cool before they are placed in a metal container and kept at a safe distance from your home.

Winter fires are preventable! For more heating fire safety advice from NFPA and USFA’s “Put a Freeze on Winter” campaign, visit


Edina Fire Department

Station No. 1
6250 Tracy Ave.
Edina, MN 55436

© 2017 City Of Edina, Minnesota