Warm Up to Safety This Winter! – A Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety Program


ESFI utilized funds provided by a 2009 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop this second installment of our dynamic safety awareness program. 

Program materials, starring ESFI’s quirky Private I. Plug mascot, deliver critical electrical and fire safety information to elementary school children in grades 3-5, focusing specifically on space heaters, smoke alarms, and safe heating practices.

These resources have been developed in accordance with the National Science Education standards.

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Warm Up to Safety this Winter! – Teaching Guide

Inside you’ll find these materials to help you teach students about fire prevention and electrical safety: 

  • Lesson plans & student worksheets 
  • Seek-and-find poster 
  • Project ideas 
  • Family materials

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Investigate with P.I. Plug Poster – Warm Up to Safety this Winter! 

Can you spot the differences between these two houses? Have students put their Safety Detective skills to the test by identifying the important safety features and electrical hazards in the homes featured on this poster.

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P.I. Plug’s Safety and Activity Guide – Warm Up Safety this Winter! 

Use these electrical and fire safety tips, in-class activities, and more to get students excited about keeping safe this winter. Don’t miss the Safety Badge cutout. You don’t want your Safety Detectives running around uncertified!

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Warm Up to Safety This Winter! – Student Activity Sheet 1: A New Case for P.I. Plug

My name is P.I. Plug. I’m a private investigator—I find electrical dangers and fire hazards in and around people’s homes. If you want to help, you’re in luck. Help me search the house for a villain called Escaping Electricity, or E.E. But watch out! E.E. placed hazards in the home—be sure to avoid them so you can stay safe.

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Warm Up to Safety This Winter! – Student Activity Sheet 2

This fill-in-the-blanks activity provides images of safety hazards to help students complete the clues that explain their dangers. The clues also lead the Safety Detectives one step closer to finding E.E.! 

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Student Activity Sheet 3: A Break in the Case – Warm Up to Safety this Winter! 

We must be close to solving this mystery. We’ve searched for clues and interviewed witnesses. Now let’s put together what we’ve learned. Unscramble the words and use your answers to decode the final clue.

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Family Information Sheet and Smoke Alarm Calendar

Using electricity is something we take for granted, but using it safely is very important. An estimated 53,000 home electrical fires occur in U.S. homes each year. Nearly one-third of these fires happen during the winter months. Most of these can be avoided by taking simple safety precautions.

Please don’t take electrical safety for granted this winter. Use this information from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and Scholastic to help safeguard your home against electrical dangers and fire hazards. Taking just a few small steps can make a big impact on your family’s safety.

Keep Your Family Safe

Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Cut out and post this chart to remind you to test the smoke alarms in your home every month.

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Home Safety Reminders – Warm Up to Safety this Winter!

Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms save lives, reducing the risk of dying in a home fire by half.
  • Purchase smoke alarms from reputable retailers that you trust. Choose alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Interconnected alarms offer the best protection.
  • Check your smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the TEST button on the alarm. Replace batteries at least once a year.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, the whole family should follow your escape plan and go to your outside meeting place.

Space Heaters

  • Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires, particularly during the winter months. Understanding how to use portable space heaters safely is very important.
  • Never leave a space heater running when you exit the room or go to sleep.
  • Do not use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn— furniture, bedding, clothes, curtains, and papers.
  • Put the space heater in a place where people will not run into it or trip over it.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place a space heater on furniture.
  • Do not use a space heater in damp or wet areas—like the bathroom.
  • Do not use your space heater with a power strip or extension cord.
  • Unplug the space heater when not in use. Inspect the cord regularly for damage.

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