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"D.W. All Fired Up"
Season/Series: 3
Number in season: 2a
Original Airdate: United States November 17, 1998[1]
Canada September 7, 1999[2]
Germany February 22, 2002[3]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
"The Ballad of Buster Baxter"
"I'd Rather Read It Myself"
Read transcript

"D.W. All Fired Up" is the first half of the second episode in the third season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur's Fire Drill.


Ms. Morgan announces the preschool will be having a fire drill. D.W. is not sure what that is, but it sounds scary, so she concocts a plan to stay home from school every day until the danger passes.


Jane wakes D.W. up in time for school. D.W. finishes her breakfast quickly and wants to go immediately and gets word that there's plenty of time to wait. Arthur tells the viewers that D.W. loves school, from going down the slide to singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" to eating pumpkin muffins. He thinks that D.W. finds it her favorite thing in the whole world. Arthur also says that one time, D.W. thought that school was not as good as she expected. When D.W. goes back home one day, she complains to herself about not wanting to go to school anymore.

D.W. All Fired Up

D.W., Emily, the Tibbles, and the rest of D.W.'s preschool class are playing with toys, messing about, etc. when a teacher pops in and talks to Ms. Morgan for a minute. After he leaves, Ms. Morgan explains to her students that over the course of this week, they will be learning about fire safety and at some point (she does not specify when) they will have their very first fire drill.

Hearing this, D.W. thinks that a fire drill is a device that resembles an electric drill but has a long jet of flame in lieu of the drill; she pictures herself and her classmates with welder's hoods on and watching their teacher use the drill to make a rocking horse. D.W. thinks that a fire drill sounds really cool.

However, D.W. almost immediately discovers that a fire drill is not anything like what she thinks it is: Ms. Morgan explains that a fire drill is a special plan that they will follow if there is a fire in the building. The preschool class practices lining up for the impending drill, goes out and practices "stopping, dropping, and rolling" (a technique that the Tibbles tell D.W. she should do if her clothes caught fire). The Tibbles, thinking real fire will actually be involved, relish the thought of having a fire drill with a great deal of sadistic glee... except D.W.

She does not want to be in the school if it is going to catch fire, and so D.W., who usually loves going to school, decides that she will have no part of this.

That night, D.W. wakes up, and looks up at the smoke detector in her room. She then tests it by poking it with a broom, so that it starts going off. Then she goes around the rest of the house, setting off the other smoke detectors. Jane and David rush downstairs, half asleep, (since it's the middle of the night) and tell D.W. that smoke detectors are not toys, and she should not be messing with them unreasonably.

Back in bed, D.W. continues to worry, and has a nightmare where she can not escape from her bedroom, because she is suddenly very tiny. When she manages to get out of her room, she finds that it is not her regular hallway— it is the school hallway, catching on fire! The firefighters are the Tibbles! They laugh, repeatedly shout "Fire Drill, Fire Drill" and run off into a big cloud of smoke. D.W. spins in a vortex of smoke before waking up with a fright.

D.W. fakes feeling ill at breakfast the next day in an attempt to miss the fire drill, but Arthur is pretty sure that she is faking. When Jane says that D.W. can stay home for the day because she was up all night setting off every smoke detector in the entire house, Arthur asks if he can do the same, because he was woken up by it, too. Jane knows that Arthur has a math test today, so Arthur has to go to school.

D.W. spends the day at home with Nadine and sees the Tibbles walking home that afternoon. She asks them if anything important happened today. The twins tell her the class did some coloring and glued some sticks together. Also, D.W. realizes that there was not a fire drill. Her subterfuge did not work then; she will have to face the fire drill eventually.

When her mom drops her off at the school, D.W. is still a little concerned about the impending fire drill, and is reluctant to leave the car. Jane asks if D.W. will be okay at school, and D.W. says yes. As D.W. walks up to the school, Nadine tells D.W. that, if she had wanted, Jane would have come into school with her, but D.W. replies that Jane's "too nice" to have to suffer through the "crazy fire drill stuff."

In class, Ms. Morgan asks if anyone has seen D.W., since she has not come into class yet. The Tibbles think that she's "probably playing hockey" ("playing hooky", corrects Ms. Morgan). Then they spot D.W. hiding outside the classroom window. D.W. says that she will not be part of the "insanity."

Back home that afternoon, Jane tells David the situation, and then, to quell D.W.'s fears, David has a surprise for her: a special firefighter's hat with "D.W." painted on it. Jane and David tell D.W. that she is going to be the Read family's fire warden.

D.W. then tells Arthur to go back to his cell! (Not that kind of warden, they tell her.) D.W. is going to be responsible for ensuring everyone's fire safety.

D.W. starts to patrol the house. The family practices home fire drills and tests out a fire-escape ladder. Later, D.W. notices what looks like smoke coming from the bathroom. She starts running around and screaming for her parents, but Arthur opens the door to assure her that it's actually steam, as he was taking a shower. She tells him she wants his wet towel when he is done. Later, she sits watching TV with the wet towel, because a wet towel is a good thing to have in the case of a fire. Arthur feels that his sister's getting carried away with all these fire safety precautions, but when he sees just how nervous his sister is, he tries assuring her by admitting that he was pretty nervous during his first fire drill as well, but things turned out just fine -- Arthur also points out to DW that it's not like actual fire is going to be involved during the fire drill (i.e., it's not like they're going to set the preschool-building on fire). D.W. still isn't convinced, arguing that things have changed a lot since Arthur was in preschool.

The next day, on the way to school, D.W. is a bit nervous, being sure the fire drill will be that day, though Jane reassures her, saying it will be like the fire drills they did at home. D.W. just answers with a "Yeah, I know."

All goes smoothly at the school, until they hear the fire alarm going off; the fire drill has begun.

D.W. acts pretty calmly, probably due to all of her additional fire drill duties. She correctly tells Emily to not pick up a load of blocks, but rather to leave everything behind, as the class leaves the classroom under the guidance of the teacher. The Tibbles overreact, acting as if there really is a fire, and some of the other kids are a bit concerned (Emily worries about her crayons melting. James MacDonald says that he has to go to the bathroom. Sarah says that her shoelaces are undone.)

Nadine and D.W. walk through the front entrance of the school, and D.W. is very pleased with herself as she exits. However, not everyone fared as well as D.W.; Ms. Morgan has to calm down Tommy, who is hyperventilating (as he was pretending to choke on smoke during the evacuation and took it too far). D.W. is sort of disappointed, in that the fire drill was not such a big deal after all. In fact, she would like to have more drills, such as a "volcano drill", a "tidal wave drill", a "sudden loss of gravity drill", etc.

Back at home, the family checks to see how D.W. is feeling after the fire drill. She answers "Of course... it was just a fire drill."






  • Morals:
    • A fear is just a fear. You can combat it with apt preparation.
    • Fire drills can be frightening, but they are essential to knowing what to do in an emergency. If you are afraid of fire drills, talk to an adult; don't let the fear control your actions.
  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound remains the same.
  • Nadine notices the Tibbles walking past the house, which D.W. could not have seen from where she was sitting. This could be an error (or a sign that Nadine is not wholly imaginary).
  • When comforting D.W., Arthur reflects on his first fire drill. His school would later have a legitimate fire in "April 9th"

Episode connections[]

  • "D.W. Blows the Whistle" also has D.W. learning about fire safety, along with her blowing a whistle when she spots something unsafe.
  • D.W.'s alarm clock is heard beeping at the start of the episode, the same one as seen and heard in "Go to Your Room, D.W."
  • A smoke alarm in the Read family's house goes off again in "Staycation," and it has the same sound like in this episode.
  • The fire alarms at both Lakewood and Mighty Mountain would go off in "April 9th" with the same exact sound as the fire alarm at D.W.'s preschool (a pulsing older-style fire alarm horn). We also see Arthur and the rest of his class evacuate the school in the same type of fashion for the real event as D.W.'s class does for the fire drill in this episode.


  • Arthur spills lemonade on the ground, but when Jane tells him to be careful, the lemonade is gone.
  • When Timmy says, "There she is!" he and Tommy have a lighter skin color than normal.
  • On one shot when Ms. Morgan and the kids head to the door, the camera zooms in an opposite direction, making it look as if they are walking backwards.
  • When Ms. Morgan congratulates the kids after the fire drill, Emily is suddenly missing.
  • Nadine continuously switches places in line during the fire drill.
  • After the fire drill, Tommy is standing still next to D.W., but is heard taking deep breaths through the next shot, in which he is standing with Ms. Morgan at the other end of the line.
  • When Arthur pours D.W. lemonade, he pours it to her on her left side, but in the next shot, he pours the lemonade to her on her right
  • Baby Kate somehow didn't wake up crying in the middle of the night when D.W. turned on the smoke detector with the broom.
  • When Nadine exits the door during the Fire Drill it appears that Ms. Morgan can see her even though she's imaginary.

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