Fire Crew 'Adopts' a School in Fire Safety Campaign

Firefighter Ellis Brazier goes through the Be Cool Be Safe booklet with pupils at The Grange School

He used to chop down trees but now Ellis Brazier is building bridges - with schoolchildren - in his new role as a firefighter with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The former tree surgeon gave up running his own business to join Blue Watch at Shrewsbury fire HQ in a new career as a firefighter.

His fire crew has just "adopted" The Grange School in Shrewsbury as part of a campaign to forge better relationships with youngsters and to raise awareness about fire safety, hoax calls and arson.

And for Ellis, 35, the school project has a double service. Not only does it create a bond with schoolchildren, it also helps him qualify as a fully trained firefighter.

Raising awareness about fire safety in the community is part of the level 3 NVQ which Ellis is currently working towards as part of his two years training which replaces the former probationer role.

"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," said Ellis, who has followed his father and cousin into the fire service.

"It also stands them in good stead when peer pressure may push them towards setting fire to something or making a hoax call. These are problems which we have in Shropshire and which sends a fire crew out on a hoax call when they may be needed for a real emergency. It is essential awareness for all young people."

Firefighters spent a day at The Grange School working in groups with a total of 100 Year 7 pupils, said Sub Officer Tony Morris.

They worked through the new Be Cool Be Safe booklet which contains a wealth of knowledge on every day essential knowledge, including fire safety. Children at schools across Shropshire are currently studying the booklet and are forming teams to take part in the annual fire safety quiz which starts in March.

"We worked in small groups discussing the information in the booklet and showed them a video about teenagers starting a fire in a haystack after playing with matches. We also had lunch with the pupils and it was a very productive and enjoyable day all round."

Under the Adopt a School programme, the fire service is sending crews to a number of Shropshire schools to get over essential fire safety messages and teach them information for the quiz. If your school has not enrolled yet for the fire safety quiz for more information call Lynn Hosking at Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service on 01743 260 200

13th February, 2006