Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is the most recent new member of the Safety Centre Alliance and is developing a state-of-the-art training centre and community hub in Bury which will include an experiential safety education centre.
A 10-acre area of land off Wellington Street is being transformed to provide the most realistic training and development for firefighters as well as an interactive community facility for local people.
Existing features on the land will be used - including a large warehouse, tunnels and culverts, cellars, bridges, cuttings and embankments, rubble piles and old mill walls, a lodge and a section of river.
New elements will also be added to prepare crews for the types of incidents they may face more of in the future - such as a collapsed building to train in search and rescue and a train, tram and ship to train for transport-related incidents.
A 'Fire Street' will be created to include a variety of simulated detached and terraced homes and commercial buildings where firefighters can recreate incidents.
The community hub will feature an interactive and immersive learning area where local people and schoolchildren in particular can learn how to protect themselves against fire and other incidents.
Groups will arrive into a simulated fire control room where they'll see the different types of incidents GMFRS attends and have the chance to listen to a real 999 call.
There will be a simulated road traffic collision scene and a 'fire house' where visitors can spot hazards and carry out a Home Safety Check.
Visitors will have the chance to enter a post-fire bedroom where they'll see first-hand the damage that can be caused by a fire.
During their visit, groups will be given their own fire kit to wear and they'll experience all the elements of a real fire - the smell of smoke, the heat of a fire and the sound of the sirens.
Full details and an interactive tour are available here.
Cornwall Fire & Rescue's interactive safety centre Flashpoint is working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Plymouth People First to deliver a series of courses for people in their area with learning disabilities.
The first of nine self advocacy groups went to visit the Flashpoint Centre in Bodmin in early April. Visitors enjoyed a supported tour of 11 different zones, spotting hazards and learning how to either avoid them or make them safe. Amongst the participants were two with hearing impairment and we were able to help with signing by Sonia, one of the Flashpoint volunteer team.
Flashpoint Manager Ellen McConnell added "Huge thanks to the lovely volunteers who ran the sessions”.
Safety Education Centre’s Innovative Technology Development is Out Of This World!
DangerPoint, the indoor activity centre in Talacre, launched an innovative new development last week when their resident character ‘K-os’ came to life.
Gaia Technologies, one of the leading providers of ICT solutions and managed services to UK schools have developed the new software in kind to enable children and young people to engage with K-os bilingually as they embark on their visit. Funding from The Big Lottery Fund and MoneySuperMarket has provided the funding for the hardware.
The K-os Puppeteering Application fuses different, commonly used technologies into one cutting edge product. It brings together technologies such as VoIP, media streaming, networking and 3D to allow the user to remotely control a digital puppet/avatar to help engage the audience in a multitude of situations and environments. DangerPoint are the only organisation using this variation of the software, and are the first to use it in production, allowing K-os to interact with visitors on screens around the Centre.
K-os was has now been officially launched to DangerPoint Trustees, Sponsors and Stakeholders at an event where guests included David Meredith Jones, The High Sheriff of Clwyd; Simon Smith, Chief Fire Officer of North Wales Fire and representatives from The British Red Cross.
Julie Evans, Centre Manager said “Since opening in October 2005, DangerPoint has continually worked to develop the Centre to deliver relevant and current safety messages to visitors. This latest venture is a very unique, new development of software and we are all excited to see K-os come to life after months of planning. Since February he has been trialled with the children on school visits and their reaction to him has been really positive. They love to ask him questions about his life on Planet Gaia and talk about what they have learned during their trip. We are sure that the public will enjoy K-os just as much during the school holidays.”
The High Sheriff said “I have heard great reports from previous High Sheriff’s about DangerPoint and it was a great privilege to launch this new interactive medium. From my perspective, the charity deserves great respect and support from the community and local authorities”.
Primary schools in Gloucestershire are being invited to bring their Year 5 pupils for a free visit to the county’s only safety centre, SkillZONE.
SkillZONE is delighted to be rolling out the offer to all 236 state primary, junior and special schools after a £35,000 initiative was agreed by Gloucestershire County Council to be used in the 2014/15 budget.
The Gloucester centre, which opened just over a year ago, has a mock village that gives groups the chance to experience 16 safety scenarios that enable young people to make decisions about staying safe.
Around a third of primary schools have been to SkillZONE and research has shown that a 2 hour safety tour at the centre is particularly useful to Year 5 pupils as it ties in with their PSHE curriculum.
SkillZONE will be contacting primary schools in five phases over the next three months inviting them to book a free trip for Year 5 students through its online booking system.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar says; “Keeping young people safe and the prevention of accidents and injuries is integral to our role. SkillZONE tackles this by teaching children how to make life-saving decisions whether that’s wearing a seatbelt or how to evacuate from a house fire.”
“I am thrilled we are able to provide these safety lessons to every Year 5 child in Gloucestershire and I believe they will leave us armoured with essential life skills which they can share with their families.”
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “We know that children can gain so much from visiting SkillZONE and it’s great news that more classes could now benefit from its important safety lessons.”
All school groups will be taught about road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home and teachers will be able to choose a further 6 scenarios covering areas such as water safety, an internet cafe, a magistrates court or a shop.
To find out more information about SkillZONE visit http://skillzone.glosfire.gov.uk/
A husband and wife have guided 1,000 tours of West Midlands Fire Service’s Safeside centre in Birmingham, delivering vital safety messages to around 5,000 children between them.
Cllr John Edwards, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA), congratulated Sheila and Harry Dennick with a surprise presentation at the end of their milestone 1,000th tour, which today involved pupils from Dorridge Junior School.
The couple, who live in Hockley, have been volunteering since Safeside ran its first trial visits in 2008. Their combined tour tally means that they have led approximately 2,500 children each around the innovative safety centre - that’s ten per cent of all the visitors since Safeside opened.
“This is a phenomenal volunteering achievement by Harry and Sheila," said Rob Hattersley, Safeside Manager. "Both of them are an inspiration to our other guides, especially our younger ones, and are always cheerful, positive and incredibly helpful. Most importantly, their volunteering has had a huge positive impact on the lives of thousands of children. We need more Harry and Sheilas at Safeside, and would love to hear from anyone else interested in supporting our work.”
Safeside at Eastside is a scenario-based experimental learning centre, designed to encourage visitors to think and act safely. It is complemented by a smaller centre, Safeside at Handsworth. The flagship indoor ‘village’ includes a realistic, life-sized street scene, complete with pedestrian crossing, car and double-decker bus, a house, shop, pub, police station and building society. Visitors also encounter a full-sized train carriage and rail track, and water-based scenarios.
Safeside’s programmes play a key role in the prevention and education services provided by West Midlands Fire Service, all designed to make the West Midlands safer. The majority of visitors are primary school Key Stage 2 pupils, but secondary students and others with special educational needs, plus young adults and parents of younger children are also among the target groups.
Councillor Edwards added: “People like Sheila and Harry, who give up their time to help us make the West Midlands safer, make a huge difference to people’s lives. They are an outstanding example of volunteering in action. We hope they inspire many others to follow in their footsteps. They show how rewarding it is to know that you have helped children to stay safe, become more independent and ready for life.”
Harry worked as Head of Security at the former WMFS HQ on Lancaster Circus in Birmingham, from 1982 to 2007. He said: “We love Safeside because it's great to know we are helping children to stay safe and be aware themselves of possible dangers.”
Sheila added: "Safeside is like a family. The staff and volunteers are very helpful and thoughtful, and it’s wonderful to know that we’re all working together to help keep our visitors safe in everyday life.”
May... already! It must be time for SATs, usually a relatively quiet time at Warning Zone with school bookings tailing off towards the week of the tests itself and only independent schools coming during those five days.
This year however we are full-on right through into our really busy period up to the end of the school year. This means, despite running with the greatest number of volunteers that we have ever had, we will need to pull out all the stops to cover the remaining session.
The seven new volunteers who completed their training during April are now into their “shadowing” period before taking their places in the roster. Good luck to them all; we hope they enjoy their volunteering at WZ and get plenty of experience before the summer break.
The interviews for the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator took place last month. Around 60 applications were received with 6 being shortlisted. The successful candidate was Louise Lemmon who has already been working alongside Alan as part of her induction into the job. Louise has worked as a police officer for the past 20 years, the last 10 as an investigator in Child Abuse and Domestic Violence cases. In a previous role as a Beat Officer she worked with community volunteers tackling anti-social behaviour in the Beaumont Leys and Hamilton areas of the city. We all welcome Lou to the WZ team and wish her well in her new role.
Louise has already received her training to act as a guide/educator and has now started to shadow as Visit Manager. A number of volunteers have already met Lou and she is looking forward to getting to know everyone.
There is a Warning Zone Quiz Night coming up again. The last one held just before Christmas was a sell-out but there is still a chance to book tickets for the next one being held at 7pm Thursday 15th May. £5 per person with teams of four. Call 0116 2629739 now to book.
Guide: “What would a police officer do with the alcohol he confiscates from the young people?”
Pupil: “DRINK IT!!”
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