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Beer mats give access to augmented reality (AR) app

January 31 2019

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued beer mats to two pubs in Stone so customers can access its augmented reality (AR) app.

Alcohol, along with smoking, mobility issues and being elderly, is one of the top four factors involved in fatal fires over the past ten years. The beermats initiative aims to raise awareness of the dangers of mixing alcohol with fire and cooking, but also gives the user the opportunity to refer someone vulnerable they may know, for a Safe and Well visit.

Home Safety Manager, Stephanie Cooley

Two hundred and fifty of the mats have been distributed to The Swan and The Star in Stone so customers can view the app, which is available to download free from Google Play Store on Android phones and Appstore for iPhones. It is designed to give access to safety advice and videos using augmented reality technology. 

Once downloaded, a user can scan the Service’s badge with their mobile device and the app will display the videos. At the moment, anyone using the app has access to information such as Top 10 Tips, electrical safety advice and how to stay safe in the kitchen. The app was developed to give another way of getting safety messages out to people. Most households have smartphones and tablets so this technology is available to a wide range of people. It can also be developed further to allow the Service to either tailor its messages or extend its range. 

AR takes the position of real physical objects and determines the location of virtual objects, displaying them on the screen of the device being used. It is an educational tool which can be used to help increase awareness of the different hazards around the home. The augmented reality app people may be most familiar with is ‘Pokemon Go’ which uses this technology to overlay virtual creatures on the real landscape which, in 2016, became extremely popular with children and adults alike. 

Home Safety Manager Stephanie Cooley said: “Alcohol, along with smoking, mobility issues and being elderly, is one of the top four factors involved in fatal fires over the past ten years. The beermats initiative aims to raise awareness of the dangers of mixing alcohol with fire and cooking, but also gives the user the opportunity to refer someone vulnerable they may know, for a Safe and Well visit. People scanning the beermats get to view a video specifically warning about these dangers. We’ll review how useful the beermats have been after a couple of months using the analytics available on the app. If it proves successful then we may well extend the initiative to other pubs based on where the Service find there is a need for it. 

“This technology helps us to engage with all ages, not just adults. We’re also about to launch an AR app for our Welephant Club. The club is aimed at children aged four to eight-years-old and aims to engage children so they can learn about fire safety in a fun way. On the app Welephant’s friend, Priya teaches children what to do in the case of a fire in their home as well as giving fire safety information. As it’s voiced by a child, we hope it’ll appeal to the Welephant Club members and that it’s something they’ll be able to look at with the adults in their lives.” 

“Our Community Safety teams has just started distributing magnets to members of the community. . The Service’s badge is on the front of them, so all they have to do is scan the magnet with a smartphone or tablet and they can have a look at our safety advice. The hope is that by making things more interactive it’ll encourage people to browse different topics and spend more time looking at our messages.” 

Safe and Well visits are carried out in homes throughout the county. During a visit a Community Safety Officer will check smoke alarms and fit if required, offer fire safety advice and check the properties for potential hazards. During these visits they also check the residents’ general wellbeing and ensure they have sufficient heating, benefits, etc. If there are any other concerns they refer the occupiers on to the appropriate agencies.

 

You can request a Safe and Well visit for yourself or someone else, if you have their permission, by contacting our Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.