An innovative theatrical performance has been bringing the importance of fire safety to life for hundreds of school children across the county.
"Playing with fire, for whatever reason is extremely dangerous."
Simon Craythorn Central Risk Reduction Manager
Organised in partnership with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the West Midlands Arson Task Force, Zip Theatre’s show Sparx has been educating pupils in 20 schools.
Concentrating on the dangers of setting malicious fires in derelict properties, the 45-minute presentation targets 12-13 year olds, engaging them in fire safety workshops which include a question and answer session with the characters of the five-strong cast as well as Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service personnel.
Sparx tells how the actions of one troubled teenager have a devastating impact on her friends, family, and a local fire crew. The messages conveyed in the performance are reinforced through contemporary music and original songs.
Simon Craythorn Central Risk Reduction Manager for Staffordshire Fire & Rescue says “Playing with fire, for whatever reason is extremely dangerous. Doing this in derelict properties is even more dangerous as there are so many additional hazards associated with these buildings that can cause serious injury to children and young people who don’t necessarily understand the risks and consequences.
“This superb production explores these issues with the children in the hope they may find safer places to play and safer things to do.
“Only recently two young children were rescued from a derelict supermarket having gained entry through the roof and lit fires there. They became trapped in a room full of toxic smoke. Had it not been for the prompt action of the Fire Service, the outcomes could have been much more severe.
“This type of incident highlights the importance of raising awareness of the potentially tragic consequences of lighting fires.”
Andy Bromley, the Staffordshire Police representative on the Arson task Force said: “The performance has real impact and is very thought provoking thanks to a cleverly written script and first class acting.
“Sparx covers a whole raft of topics, from the dangers of fire setting to the implications of making hoax calls and the issue of peer pressure.
“The type of questions the children were asking made it clear the messages being delivered had well and truly struck home.”
Additional key messages relating to kitchen fire safety and the implications for communities of hoax calls are also discussed in Sparx.