Children’s books to promote fire safety in schools

Published:  23 January, 2012

Dave Fanning created Phil the Fire Engine in a bid to help educate young children about the dangers of fires and how they start.

Now, the former firefighter wants to see his books used as a learning resource in primary schools throughout the UK.

A Merseyside (UK) MP Graham Evans has already lent his support to Dave’s campaign, and has written to regional councils and the Department of Education to recommend the books be distributed throughout schools.

Dave, formerly a station commander in Liverpool, has been speaking out about fire safety for decades. He first became passionate about the issue in the 1980s, after witnessing a horrendous blaze that killed an 18-month-old girl Her three-year-old brother had accidentally started the fire in their home.

After the ordeal he set about designing a programme for schools including visits from firefighters to educate about the dangers of matches, hoax calls and starting fires. As part of this, and to help deliver the message, he created Phil the Fire Engine.

Illustrated by George Jones, each of the adventures are aimed at children and teachers alike, and support learning about fire safety in a fun and engaging way. Topics covered in the books include house fires, bonfire night, and the dangers of making hoax calls, amongst other things.

Dave has also devised a series of presentation materials for schools so the stories can be shown to classes on overhead projectors, as part of lesson plans.

As well as being used in schools, the books are also being taken up by children’s wards and burns units throughout the UK in order to help children understand and come to terms with burn injuries.

Dave said: “Fire safety is not on the national curriculum, but most schools recognise it’s such an important thing for young children to be aware of, and learning about it in school really helps to get that message across.

“Schools tell me how reading the books in class has led to discussions and projects centred around fire awareness, which means the messages Phil aims to get across really are helping children to think about the consequences of playing with matches and fire.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the books are getting so much support and it’s my goal to see them made available to as many children as possible.”

All of the Phil the Fire Engine books and teaching resources are available to order online here.

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