Hampshire Schoolkids Turn Fire Investigators

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Schools Education Team inspire junior fire investigators to help reduce arson.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Schools Education Team inspire Junior Fire Investigators to help them reduce arson by launching their new key stage 2 vehicle.

The launch of the new Arson Awareness Vehicle took place at Nightingale Primary School in Eastleigh last week.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Curry along with Saxon and Inca the Fire Investigation Dogs were at Nightingale Primary School to help launch the new vehicle. Using this vehicle the Schools Education Team are supporting the Arson Task Force by targeting schools with ‘Arson Hot Spots’ across the county.

The Schools Education Team have transformed the vehicle into an Arson Awareness Vehicle, The vehicle has been fitted out with a “before and after the fire” scenario, of two almost identical rooms. The pupils are promoted to ‘Junior Fire Investigators’, given a check sheet, clip board and pencil. They are then invited on board and given the responsibility of investigating the burnt out room and deciding for themselves the possible source of the fire. A quick burst of synthetic smoke adds to the realism of the experience and helps to captivate the imaginations of the would be CSI’s!

The Team have been talking to Key Stage 2 children for more than 14 years. This has been a universal delivery model, covering fire safety, road safety and safety in the home. It has been very successful as all of our Junior and Primary schools are signed up and we have evidence of positive outcomes. With the advent of reliable intelligence from the Arson Reduction Task Force we have been able to identify schools within the Arson hotspot areas and have created a more targeted approach.

Donna Smith, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Schools Education Adviser said, "The launch was a great success for all involved. Year 6 pupils rose to the challenge of being ‘Junior Fire Investigators’ and enjoyed meeting the Arson Investigation dogs Saxon and Inca, who stole the show by showing off their skills. This kind of 'Experiential Learning' is something that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are embracing as an effective, engaging way to get our valuable safety messages across."

Donna added, “This new Arson Awareness vehicle will enable us to challenge the attitudes and behaviours of the children of Hampshire in an experiential way and contribute towards them becoming more responsible citizens in the future.”