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839 Fire safety education for children and young people; a study of current UK practice
  1. Julie Mytton,
  2. Puspa Pant
  1. University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Abstract

Background Fire safety education for children in the UK is delivered by local Fire and Rescue Services. The aim of this study was to document the scope, format and delivery of children’s fire safety education across England, Wales and Scotland and establish the priorities and issues for such programmes.

Methods A mixed-methods approach was used. Information about educational programmes on the websites of the Fire and Rescue Services was collated to inform semi-structured telephone interviews with informants managing fire safety education in each service. Data analysis included mapping of programmes and thematic analysis of issues identified by informants. Telephone interviews with fire safety education leaders and experts provided contextual information on priorities and practice.

Results The websites of 49 Fire and Rescue Services were searched and information on fire safety education was identified from 30. Telephone interviews were conducted with 28/49 (57%) services. The quantity and delivery of programmes varied by age; with children aged 5–11 years having the greatest opportunity to receive programmes, primarily through school. Programmes were designed and delivered by people with different professional backgrounds which influenced content and format. Examples of mutual support between community safety teams in neighbouring counties were found. Programme evaluation was variable.

Conclusions Children and young people in the UK are receiving variable fire safety education and training. Devolved responsibility for programmes and financial pressures on Fire and Rescue Services are thought to contribute to differences in access, content and format. Examples of innovative programmes delivered by motivated teams were identified, though there are opportunities for greater sharing of best practice and developing evidence of effectiveness. These findings have the potential to inform future research and practice in fire safety education across the UK.

  • Fire safety
  • Education
  • Children
  • United Kingdom

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