Oxfordshire firefighters delivering virtual school visits during pandemic

Children across Oxfordshire have continued to learn all about fire safety over the last year with school visits from firefighters being replaced by videos and online classes.

The online sessions delivered by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service have aimed to deliver educational content concerning fire safety covering what being a firefighter involves and when to dial 999.

The importance of children knowing their home address; detail of what a smoke alarm is and the importance of testing one have also been included. Engagement has also provided information on different types of fire kit – including entertainment for youngsters in watching which firefighter can get dressed the quickest.  

Firefighters from Bicester Fire Station alone have delivered nearly a dozen of these session so far and each one has been valued by the primary schools. Oxford city firefighters based at Rewley Road have also been engaging with primary schools in Oxford to continue delivering their educational content in new innovative ways. They’ve been recording videos and hosting visits online for classes ranging from reception to Year 5 classes. Each session typically lasts between 30 minutes and one hour.

Bicester firefighter Chris Philpott said: “We really enjoy these visits as it is the next best thing to actually going into schools, and without fail after every single one of the visits they have emailed thanking us and highlighting how much both the children and adults enjoyed it.

“Whilst we could not physically attend our usual school fire safety visits, we really wanted to continue engaging with our communities. As a crew, we worked hard to deliver the virtual visits in a safe and modern way”. 

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member of Community Services and Safety said: “"It is important that we continue to engage with our communities in order to help keep them safe, even during this period of unprecedented isolation, and the virtual world which many of us have become acclimatised to. I’d like to thank the firefighters in Oxfordshire who have worked hard to produce such engaging videos and online visits and I encourage schools to get in touch with their local crews to find out more information concerning these virtual visits.”

If you’re interested in booking a virtual school visit or receiving more information to help support you or your class, please get in touch with community.safety@oxfordshire.gov.uk