Fire crew 'adopts' a school in fire safety campaign

With their Be Cool Be Safe books are pupils Charlotte Jones and Lisa Mashingaidze with front row, Scott Thomas and Tejinder Chauhan with, back row, Firefighter Simon Davies, teacher Debra Whitehead and Firefighter Chris Davey

Firefighters have "adopted" a number of Telford schools as part of a campaign to forge better relationships with youngsters and to raise awareness about fire safety, hoax calls and arson.

Red Watch at Wellington fire station spent the school day with pupils at the Sutherland School working in groups with Year 7 pupils to raise awareness about fire safety in the community.

"This is the third year we have been going into the Sutherland School as part of the Adopt A School Programme. It is very rewarding and 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 Sub Officer Kevin Maddox.

"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."

They worked through the Be Cool Be Safe booklet compiled by the Shropshire brigade which contains a wealth of knowledge on essential information, including fire safety. Children at schools across Shropshire are currently studying the booklet and 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," said Sub Officer Maddox.

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 and Rescue Service on 01743 260 200.

2nd March, 2006