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.”
Thousands of West Midlands school children are set to benefit from a brand new travel information centre designed and built just for them!
The facility opened today at West Midlands Fire Service’s flagship Safeside safety venue. It has been funded by Centro and is part of a continuing partnership between the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership Anti Social Behaviour Team, Centro’s Education Team and Safeside.
Young visitors to the centre on Vauxhall Road in Nechells, Birmingham will learn important skills in journey planning, with an emphasis on them developing greater independence as they move towards secondary school.
'By encouraging walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing, not only can children become more autonomous, they can also make their journeys greener,” explained Rob Hattersley, Safeside manager.
“The scenario will eventually make use of electronic tablets on which pupils will plan a journey from Safeside to other Birmingham attractions, using various online tools, maps and apps. They’ll compare the different travel options by time, distance, price and CO2 emissions. But, because it takes place in a realistic travel centre with maps and leaflets - just like the one at New Street – children will also learn the value of paper-based materials.”
Laura Graham of Safer Travel added “This resource is a great addition to an already fantastic centre. Children can learn exactly what they need to know about using public transport, and the more confident children feel in preparing to travel and the safer they feel when using the bus the more they will be encouraged about using it.”
Linked to the new travel scenario is a new interactive workshop, based on a National Express double decker bus which is parked on Safeside’s indoor street. The session will focus on the benefits of using public transport and the skills and awareness children need to do so safely.
Pupils will see themselves on CCTV, deal with a suspicious character, and watch and discuss a video about the consequences of travel crime and what to do about it. They will be presented with several real-life travel dilemmas, including what to do if they forget their fare or miss their stop.