Making a serious lesson in fire safety fun

Published: 20th October 2006

NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner Greg Mullins returned to the classroom for the launch of the revamped Fire ED program at Alfords Point Public School on 19 October.

Commissioner Mullins was joined by a crew from Menai Fire Station, the Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly, the Member for Menai Alison Megarrity, school principal Robyn Dowse and more than 40 young students at the launch of the NSWFB’s fire safety program aimed at kindergarten and Year 1 students.

Mr Kelly said the new brighter version of the NSWFB Fire ED program was more appealing to children, with simple props including games, signs and flash cards, which will assist firefighters in reaching young audiences with important fire safety messages.

"Nobody is in a better position to deliver fire safety lessons than firefighters who deal with the tragedy and loss associated with fires on a regular basis," Mr Kelly said.

"Of course, the challenge in teaching young students about a serious issue like fire safety is to do so while creating an element of fun."

Ms Megarrity said it was important kids got the safety message at a young age.

Given that most children are naturally fascinated with fire and 10 per cent of all fires are believed to be caused by children, it is vital that they learn about the dangers of fire, and what to do if one breaks out in the home," she said.

The fire crew from Menai Fire Station delivered the Fire ED lesson, teaching the young students about what to do if there is a fire, such as dialling Triple Zero (000), alerting the family and escaping, and about the effects of smoke.

The young students also learned and performed key messages, such as Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll and saw the protective uniforms worn by firefighters.

Once the 30-minute lesson in the classroom has finished, the kids went outside to look at a fire engine.

The Fire ED program is supported by Macquarie Bank Foundation. Head of Macquarie Bank Foundation, Julie White, said Fire ED provided children with vital information and potentially life-saving techniques.

"The strategies children are taught as part of this program could save their lives and those of their families in the event of fire," she said.

"The relaunch of Fire ED is particularly timely with the bushfire season upon us and the Macquarie Bank Foundation is proud to commit two years funding to this initiative."

Fire safety programs

Fire ED is one of a number of fire safety programs conducted by the NSWFB.

Commissioner Mullins said the NSWFB also conducts informal fire safety sessions in pre-schools and daycare centres and is developing materials for a Pre ED program for preschoolers as well as a Fire ED Level 2 program aimed at students in Years 5 and 6, which should be available in 2007.

The NSWFB recently launched a new website, NSWFB Schools, aimed at providing teachers, parents and kids with information on fire safety and resources that support our fire safety programs aimed at youth and children that are delivered through schools.

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