Fire Quiz in the Classroom

Sutherland School teacher Debra Whitehead with 12-year-old pupils Dale Smart and Deanna Handley as they access the new Be Cool Be Safe web pages
13th January, 2006

A children's popular quiz aimed at educating Shropshire youngsters to become safer adults is now available online allowing teachers and pupils to access details in the classroom at the touch of a button.

Organised by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, the interactive safety quiz is packed with information, which will be learned via computer by thousands of year 7 pupils every year.

The new web resource, sponsored by the Community Safety Partnerships and the Connexion service, allows children to practice their fire safety knowledge through multiple-choice questions and is a revision tool for the quiz.

From the data received, the fire service's Youth Officer Lynn Hosking measures each school's achievement rate.

Many of the county's schools now incorporate the quiz, which is targeted at the national curriculum, into their school timetable.

Lynn has worked with fire prevention officers', road safety experts, the Coastguard, police, local drugs workers, Railtrack and Connexions to compile facts, figures and fascinating information packed into a 26 page Be Cool Be Safe booklet - with the information now accessible via the internet.

Subjects studied by pupils in the classroom are safety in the home, hoax calls, solvent abuse, bullying, safety in the water and on the road, and issues relating to personal safety.

Debra Whitehead, a teacher at The Sutherland School in Telford, said: "The quiz is very good. It supports the science and PSHE curriculum and it is wonderful that it is now accessible online so we can use it as a teaching tool. The booklet is also a very valuable resource and has some extremely useful information about life for pupils."

Pupil Rachael Humphries, 12, who was in her school's quiz team which came third in last year's event, said: "I enjoyed it because I learned things that I wouldn't normally know about and the experience of going to a fire station was quite overwhelming."

The project, which began in 2002, first attracted almost 1,000 pupils from just 16 schools. Last year it grew to 4,727 11 and 12-year-olds from 37 of the county's secondary schools. "This year we are working towards achieving our target to enrol every school but this is a mammoth task," said Lynn.

Good working relationships had developed between the fire service and schools as a result as well as equipping children with essential information, she said.

Under the Adopt a School programme, the fire service is sending crews to a number of schools to get over essential fire safety messages and teach them information for the quiz.

"The overall objective of the quiz is to educate young people to become responsible citizens. We want to ensure that we educate the children of today to become safer adults for the future," Lynn added.

Any school, which has yet to enrol in the fire quiz, should contact Lynn Hosking at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to order free magazines or visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk for details on how to access the website.

Schools can run their own mini quiz to select the team which will represent their school at a number of regional heats scheduled in March with the final due to be staged on April 25. The winning team receives computer equipment for their school and individual gift vouchers from the supporting agencies.

Parties at local night clubs in Shrewsbury and Telford are held in May for all youngsters who have taken part.