Firefighters & Fire Safety

We have a fire station about two blocks from our house. When my boys were little, we occasionally walked to the fire station, hoping to see a firefighter or at least peek through the windows at the big fire trucks. When I was a daycare provider, I would schedule a time when a firefighter could be there to open the big doors, show us the trucks and his equipment, and explain what to do in a fire.

Firefighters are special people. They are strong and brave. And they run into fires. Is there anything more to say? Well, yes.

My older son Alex is a paramedic in Kansas City, Missouri, which can be a dangerous job. He rides in a truck (ambulance) that races through the city’s streets, sometimes into threatening situations. And though I worry about him, I’m also very proud.

Last fall Alex attended the fire academy in Kansas City, and I learned what is involved in training a firefighter.  Merely getting into the academy requires passing a rigorous physical test; about twenty people took the test when Alex did, but only five or six passed.

These trainees have to be pretty smart. During training, they learn about different types of fires and how to fight each one while keeping themselves safe. They learn how to race the big fire trucks through city streets. They learn how to find their way out of a smoky building. They learn how to rescue people.

The trainees also have to be strong. They practice their skills every day and work on their physical fitness, which includes climbing 49 flights of stairs (that’s flights, not steps) several times a week.

My son is still a paramedic, but he is also a firefighter. And while many occupations require people to be strong and smart, firefighters must be able to do one thing that is not required in many others. They race into danger. They climb to the tops of buildings that have been hit by jet planes. They drop into forest fires. They run into burning buildings. They are exceptionally brave.

Primary grades


Community Helpers at a Fire (Community Helpers on the Scene) by Mari Schuh. 9781515723998. 2017. Gr PK-2.

Fire Trucks (Blastoff! Readers : Mighty Machines in Action) by Chris Bowman. 9781626176041. 2017. Gr K-3.

Firefighter Duckies! by Frank W. Dormer. 9781481460903. December 2017. Gr PK-1.

Firefighters to the Rescue around the World (To the Rescue!) by Linda Staniford. 9781484627518. 2016. Gr K-2.

Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires! by Andrew Root. 9780062452948. 2017. Gr PK-3.


Intermediate grades


Aviation Firefighters (Fire Fight! : The Bravest) by Nancy White. 9781627240963. 2014. Gr 3-6. (Series also includes City Firefighters , Marine Firefighters, and Hotshots)

Escape from the Great Earthquake (Ranger in Time) by Kate Messner. 9780545909846. 2017. Gr 2-5 (fiction).

Extreme Wildfire : Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire  by Mark Thiessen. 9781426325311. 2016. Gr 4-6.

Smokejumpers : Fighting Fires from the Sky (Emergency!) by Justin Petersen. 9781491480304. 2016. Gr 2-5.

Sparky (Dog Diaries, Book 9) by Kate Klimo. 9780553534931. 2016. Gr 4-6 (fiction).


Survive a Fire (Torque Books : Survival Zone) by Patrick Perish. 9781626175815. 2017. Gr 3-5.

Winter Sky by Patricia Reilly Giff. 9780375838927. 2014. Gr 4-6 (fiction).


Middle School


Big Top Burning : The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth by Laura A. Woollett. 9781613731147. 2015. Gr 5-8 (fiction).

Fighting Fire! : Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them by Michael L. Cooper. 9780805097146. 2014. Gr 6-8.

The Great Peshtigo Fire : Stories and Science from America’s Deadliest Firestorm by Scott Knickelbine. 9780870204999. 2012. Gr 4-7.

Hot Spot (Firestormers) by Carl Bowen. 9781496533074. 2016. Gr 4-8 (fiction). (Series also includes Back Burn, Bone Yard, and Fire Front.)


High School


Backfire (Day of Disaster) by Vanessa Acton. 9781512427752. 2017. Gr 8-12 (fiction).

Burn by Heath Gibson. 9780738730950. 2012. Gr 9-12 (fiction).

The Factory Girls : A Kaleidoscopic Account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Christine Seifert. 9781942186458. 2017. Gr 7-12.


Adult Crossover titles


American Firefighter by Paul Mobley. 9781599621371. 2017. Gr 10-Adult.

The Fire Line : The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting by Fernanda Santos. 9781250054029. 2016. Gr 11-Adult.

Firestorm : How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik. 9781610918183. 2017. Gr 11-Adult.

The Flame Within : Memoir of a Firefighter by Wayne Mutza. 9780786472765. 2013. Gr 10-Adult.

Hot Zone : Memoir of a Professional Firefighter by Christopher Teale Howes. 9780786469604. 2012. Gr 11-Adult.

Under a Flaming Sky : The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 by Daniel James Brown. 9781592288632. 2006. Gr 10-Adult.

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