Fire safety is child's play for Alice

Alice Wynn (6) and family at her Oswestry home
25th September, 2009

She may be just six-years-old but Alice Wynn is a true "bright spark" after applying to her local fire station for a fire safety check at her Shropshire home.

The year 2 pupil decided to fill in an official form requesting the free visit from firefighters after picking up details from the Outreach Vehicle operated by fire prevention officers at the Oswestry Show.

Alice, who is six months away from her seventh birthday, read the fire prevention information booklet from cover to cover before writing her name, address, postcode and phone number onto the form.

Mum Sandra said: "Alice gave me the letter and said could I post it for her as we needed a new smoke alarm for the house. I put a note on telling the firefighters that Alice had done this completely on her own and they later rang and came to visit us.

"She knew that previously we had pressed the button to test the old alarm to check if it worked, which it did.

"Her reading is very good but I was quite shocked that she knew what it was all about but they have had fire safety education at her nursery and primary school from firefighters," said Sandra, who works as an administrator for a financial advisor while dad Richard is a design engineer for Bentley.

Oswestry firefighter Alan Walker said they were stunned when they realised that the person requesting the home fire safety visit was just six-years-old.

"We paid a visit to their home in Cabin Lane, Oswestry, and Alice was right, they did need new smoke alarms with a ten year battery life for the hall and upstairs landing.

"Alice also helped us to check plugs in the house to ensure that electrical wiring was safe."

A pupil at The Meadows Primary School in Oswestry, Alice said: "I thought it might be good to do it."

Younger brother Harvey (3) is also aware of fire safety after fire engines turned out to a potential kitchen fire at his nursery school when burnt sausages set off the smoke alarm.

"You must never play with matches," said Harvey, an avid reader of a children's book used by fire safety officers to educate children with the character Francis Firefly who sets fire to her tail.

Fire safety officer Rabinder Dhami said: "A reduction in fires is due to fire officers educating members of the public, both young and old. Our aim is to prevent children from being harmed or killed in accidental fires and stop them causing fires through ignorance or carelessness.

"Young children listen with great interest to our lessons and it is heartening when we hear about what Alice has done. She is obviously a very bright girl."

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said: "This shows how well our crew get the message of fire safety across to young people in the county. I am really proud of them all."

Firefighters are trained to deliver lessons using interactive computer presentations as part of a major classroom initiative launched by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire crews "adopt" schools to teach children valuable lessons in fire safety, hoax calls and arson along with other vital, potentially lifesaving safety issues under Adopt A School programme.

They work with teachers to deliver lessons during PSHE for years 1 and 4 followed up with more education for year 6 pupils taking part in the Crucial Crew exercise and year 7's in the fire service's annual Be Cool Be Safe quiz. Year 8 students receive lessons from the watches to teach them about the problems of arson and hoax calls.