Reaching out to young people: Katie Sedgwick of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service outlines the work being done by the service to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by engaging with the county's young people.(Crime & Antisocial Behaviour)

FIREFIGHTERS IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE have been tasked with looking for new and innovative approaches to making communities in the county safer by helping to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Naturally, this means focussing on 'prevention' rather than 'cure'--an approach illustrated by the operation of a wide range of initiatives aimed at reducing arson, antisocial behaviour, fires, road traffic collisions and unnecessary accidents.

Staff have worked tirelessly to educate young people on the dangers of fire and irresponsible behaviour by visiting schools, colleges and local prisons, as well as staging dramatic car crash simulations and holding regular Young Firefighters sessions. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters are truly engaging with youngsters of all backgrounds and having a real impact on local communities.

Animated Approach

As a service, we believe that you are never too young to learn about the dangers of fire and roads, which is why we have devised an original animation to allow children of primary and infant school ages to learn in a fun and interactive way.

Teams of community engagement staff take their specially designed DVD--Play It Safe--into schools across the county and show it to children as part of a fun-packed interactive presentation. The animation includes smoke alarm information, fire safety in the home messages, bonfire safety, escape plans, fire drills and road safety information. The main characters are the service's mascot, Bleeper (a smoke alarm), and his best friend Battery, who are presented in a way to help the children absorb the messages more easily.

The animation also includes some characters from the already well-known MissDorothy.Com books and internet-based learning programme, which South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has championed. …

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