Fire Safety through the Airwaves

Shropshire firefighter Drew Perkins talks to Telford FM broadcaster Rob James with the help of the ODPM hot topics information folder

A Shropshire firefighter has taken to the airwaves to get out some "powerful" fire safety messages to listeners.

Firefighter Drew Perkins, of Blue Watch at Telford Fire Station makes regular broadcasts on Telford FM reaching thousands of listeners in Shropshire, parts of Worcestershire and the neighbouring West Midlands.

Kitchen safety, the dangers of chip pans, cigarettes, carbon monoxide, hoax calls and DIY safety have all featured in Drew's weekly radio spots which are broadcast throughout the day.

"It was an idea I had to get important fire safety messages to the public. I contacted the radio station and they were extremely accommodating," said Drew, 40, a firefighter for nine years, who has previously worked in drug and alcohol counselling.

"I knew it was such a fantastic media opportunity to get our community fire safety messages out to people at all times of the day."

Drew works on his script at home itemising important "bite size" information in bullet points taken from the hot topics folder published by the ODPM.

Telford FM news reader Rob James said they were very effective with listeners often phoning in as a direct result of Drew's broadcasts.

"Many of the fire safety messages, especially the one on hoax calls, are really very powerful and we do get a strong reaction from the public. People are very supportive of what we are doing."

Alan Taylor, Chief Fire Officer at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, praised Drew for his initiative.

"We are very proactive in Shropshire in community fire safety which has resulted in the number of fires falling dramatically over the past five years.

"We do have regular publicity for our fire safety campaigns but Firefighter Perkins has taken them one step further by initiating this extra media coverage which is proving to be very successful. I congratulate him for his enthusiasm and hard work."

6th April, 2006