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The Safesider - Latest News from Safeside


Follow in the footsteps of Devonshire Primary School ….


The WMFS School’s Safety Challenge provides you with a great opportunity to introduce safety into the classroom through an engaging and interactive online challenge. Pupils will learn in an innovative and fun way providing them with the opportunity to form a team to represent their school in the West Midlands Fire Service Schools' Safety Challenge. In addition there are lesson plans and resources available to further develop their learning and understanding of safety.

We visited the winners of the 2014 West Midlands Fire Service Schools’ Safety Challenge: Devonshire Primary School.  Whilst presenting the team with their trophy, we took the opportunity to find out what they thought of the experience 6 months on.

With fond memories and excitement, the children recalled their favourite part of the challenge which included: using the phone to dial 999, crossing the road to keep people safe and collecting bonus point balloons. They also spoke about the grand final held at Safeside @ Eastside and how much they enjoyed going round the interactive village, the quiz and of course winning.

More importantly the group emphasised how much they had learnt during the challenge and that they felt safer after the experience. Pupils from Devonshire Primary School recommended the experience to other schools but were confident that they could retain the title of WMFS Schools’ Safety Challenge winners in 2015.

If you would like more information on the challenge please visit, or contact  Richard Pringle, Schools Education Officer on 0121 380 6196 or


Rowland creates a stir at Safeside!


This week Rowland Smith guided his 400th tour of West Midlands Fire Service’s Safeside centre in Birmingham. He has delivered key safety messages to around 2,400 children during the 6 years he has volunteered at the centre.

Here you can see Rowland pictured with his certificate in his favorite scenario, the kitchen! “I look forward to coming to Safeside,” said Rowland, Safeside Volunteer Visitor Guide. “It is very rewarding knowing that the children have learned something about safety.” 

Janet Wilson, Volunteer Manager said: “Not only has Rowland conducted 400 tours to children from across the West Midlands but he is also one of our longest serving leader and mentor guides, training numerous volunteers in the art of delivering the Junior Citizen programme. In addition Rowland has become infamous on the dance floor at our annual Christmas party and can be relied upon to give a brilliant display of rocking and rolling.”

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.

Volunteer Visitor Guides are a critical part of the Safeside Team and are essential to the delivery of the key messages on the Junior Citizen Programme. Find out more about volunteering at Safeside:


Ambulance attends Safeside


WMAS hand over ambulance to Safeside

School children from Birmingham ended up at the scene of a road traffic collision yesterday but, thankfully, it was just a new scenario at the indoor educational village at Safeside.

Year five pupils from Cotteridge Junior and Infant School visited West Midlands Fire Service’s Safeside facility in the City’s Eastside for a day of interactive learning. The educational village consists of a realistic full size street which includes a complete with shops, toucan crossing, double decker bus, car, canal, house, train and more.

The villages’ newest edition is thanks to West Midlands Ambulance Service who has provided Safeside with a fully functional ambulance to enhance the road safety scenarios and enable children to familiarise themselves with the ins and outs of what’s on board.

Andy Jeynes, the Trust’s Community Response Manager for Birmingham and the Black Country, said: “The village at Safeside is a remarkable facility which enables youngsters to experience scenarios in almost real-life settings. We’re really happy to be able to support this educational facility with the addition of an ambulance which is complete with medical equipment, a realistic ‘patient’ and of course lights and sirens which are always popular with children.

“As a Trust we are passionate about engaging with youngsters about the role of the ambulance service and when it’s appropriate to dial 999. We hope that if children have an opportunity to jump in the back of an ambulance in a friendly setting, like Safeside, they will be less frightened and apprehensive if they’re ever unfortunate enough to need our help.”

Rob Hattersley, Safeside Manager, said: "The ambulance is a fantastic addition to the street scene, bringing learning to life for our visitors. After covering the causes of distraction to pedestrians at our working toucan crossing, such as smartphones or music, visitors can see inside the ambulance and understand the potential consequences of a lack of attention.

"We've been delighted at the support we've had from our partners at the ambulance service. It's been useful to review our scripts to ensure key messages are getting through, for example about correct use of 999, and we're delighted with the provision of our new ambulance. It's demonstrated the importance of seeing Safeside as a partnership project between different agencies all with the aim of Making West Midlands Safer."

Emma Wilkins, the Trust’s Head of Community Response, said: “This is a fantastic example of partnership working with West Midlands Fire Service which is helping us to engage with young people and build awareness about road safety and the ambulance service.”


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