Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fearless Fire Drill

We are so excited to introduce you to a fellow SLP Libby Pittman! We had the pleasure of hearing her present at a conference this spring and we couldn't wait to share what we learned! She has helped to create an amazing program, Fearless Fire Drill and I think so many of our kids could benefit from it!  If you would like to read more about what we learned at the SHAA conference go here and here! And be sure to follow her Facebook page and stop by her website!

When the speech ladies asked if I would write a blog on the fearless fire drill I was excited about this opportunity to share information about what has grown to be my passion.  However, I quickly realized it is much easier to present information about the Fearless Fire Drill program in real life than in a blog.  The main reason for this is because there are so many factors that went into how and why we created this program that it is hard to explain in an article.  To make a long story short, I was in a hotel fire about five years ago, which not only scared me half to death but also started my wheels turning about how we handle fire drills in our school.  The next fall we had a first grade student who would not enter the building on the first day of school, because he was afraid we were going to have a fire drill.  After trying to write social stories and trying to do my best social coaching; I realized we had to go deeper with this life saving skill.  It was at this time that I made a phone call to the Fire Marshal in our town to discuss the best way to prepare children for the fire alarm. The bottom line is we created this program out of a need to teach our students a basic life saving skill that they are capable of learning but had never been given the proper tools to master this task.

As we tested, then piloted this program, we learned that schools not only in Alabama; but also all over the United States are not requiring special needs students to participate in the fire drill.  The majority of special education students are either forewarned about the drill or taken out of the building before the alarm sounds.  This does little to prepare these children for real life situations.

So what is the Fearless Fire Drill Program?  It is a program written by a school based SLP and occupational therapist that provided a systematic approach to teaching children how to cope with and participate in fire drills with their peers.  It includes lessons, social stories, data sheets, video modeling clips, a real working fire drill and earphones.  Years of developing and revising the lessons have yielded positive results.  The Fearless Fire Drill kits are lightweight and a good size to tote to several schools.  
Taken from Fearless Fire Drill's Facebook Page

The lessons are user friendly and can be led by a SLP, OT, resource teacher or behaviorist.  Each lesson takes anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the group of students who are participating.

The program has been extremely successful with the over 100 students who have participated in it.  It has been used in public and private schools with students on the spectrum and those who only exhibit sensory issues.  All children who have participated in the lessons are able to participate in the fire drill with their peers with no signs of anxiety.

Last year a research study was conducted that confirmed all of the data we have gathered in the past 3 years on this program.  The study included typical and inclusion kindergarten classes from Mitchell’s Place and four other local public schools.  One of the most striking findings during the study was the need for the program with several typical students.  We were expecting the students who were diagnosed with special needs to have a learning curve but were surprised to find typical students who benefited greatly from being exposed to the program. 

Since we developed the program we have been asked to speak at numerous conventions, parent education groups, first responders and other in-services.  It has been an exciting journey but more than that we are thrilled to be providing our children with a means to learn this life skill in a way that is safe and effective.

You may be asking how can I learn more about the kit, where can I get one, how much do they cost? 
If you are interested in purchasing a kit or learning more about it you can go to or contact our business manager, Priss Pittman at  Each kit is 289.00.

To see a testimonial video go here!


Cindy and Kristina said...

Sorry the video is not working! We will try to figure that out!

Christine Reeve said...

Awesome post Libby. I really love this program and the ideas behind it.

Autism Classroom News

Anonymous said...

my only concern with this program is PTSD because i had an aide who decided not to follow an iep which it stated it was medically necessary for me to be removed from the building prior to a firedrill because of being shunted and asperger's and the sound sensitivity never went away in my case because i had a shunt and after all these years of being subjected to school fire drills, I now have PTSD.