Fire safety for kids

Allan Richards is one of 160 firefighters educating schoolchildren in fire safety pictured with his five-year-old daughter Jessica - one of hundreds of pupils to benefit from the Adopt A School programme.

Is Your Child Worth £3? Wake Up Get A Smoke Alarm - this is just one of many important fire safety messages being given to schoolchildren as part of a major classroom initiative launched by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire crews are "adopting" schools in Shrewsbury and Telford to teach children valuable lessons in fire safety, hoax calls and arson along with other vital, potentially lifesaving safety issues under the newly launched Adopt A School programme.

More than 160 firefighters from 12 watches have been trained to deliver lessons using interactive computer presentations which start in October. The bespoke programme has been planned for the past 18 months with successful pilot schemes carried out in a number of schools.

Organiser Lynn Hosking, Youth Officer with the fire service, said that each fire crew is adopting a school to work with teachers to deliver the lessons during PSHE as part of an integrated education programme for school years 1, 4, 6 and 7.

"Our aim is to prevent children from being harmed or killed in accidental fires and stop them causing fires through ignorance or carelessness. We will also work with young people to ensure that they do not become involved in anti-social behaviour such as lighting fires.

"Firefighters are professionals and respected by children who see them as friendly and helpful heroes. They will educate pupils who will in turn pass on fire safety information to their friends and families ensuring that their homes are safe from fire.

"We know that through education we can reduce fires in Shropshire and as such prevent tragedies when people are killed or seriously injured in a house fire," said Lynn.

Shrewsbury firefighter Allan Richards, of Blue Watch, said: "Going into schools as part of the Adopt A School programme is very rewarding. It helps pupils to understand our role and they do gain a respect for the fire service and a greater awareness about the dangers of fire."

Teachers from both Madeley Court School in Telford and Sundorne School in Shrewsbury involved in the pilot programme, praised the fire education.

Adopted schools now need to contact Lynn Hosking at the fire service to get details about their own "adopted" fire crew.

"Firefighters in each Watch are keen to begin the education programme," added Lynn.

1st October, 2007