The Star Says: Fire education needs to begin at home

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It can only be good news that firefighters are being called out to deal with fewer and fewer serious fires.

Modern houses and flats are much more safe than they used to be with obvious fire hazards and flammable furniture almost a thing of the past.

The introduction of smoke alarms have also saved countless lives and the fire service does a terrific job in installing, maintaining and reminding people to test them regularly through advertising and social media campaigns.

The key to making people aware is through education.

Today – for the second day running – we report on a scheme that will provide information to young people which could very well keep them alive or prevent them from being seriously injured.

Song and story books created in a children’s centre in Sheffield are being used to promote a raft of safety messages aimed at reducing deaths and injuries.

The books were developed thanks to a £20,000 grant from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

They form part of an education package put together at the Shoreham Street-based centre, working with children, families and carers, to form age specific safety messages.

An Early Years Practitioner Guide has also been produced and a series of qualifications for early years practitioners is being developed aimed at setting a national standard for teaching fire and other safety messages to young children.

Yesterday we told of police chiefs who are using a shocking picture of a boy with facial burns to try to reduce arson attacks across South Yorkshire.

The image is being displayed on posters to highlight the consequences of starting fires.

Last year, 681 arson attacks were reported to South Yorkshire Police. Analysis of incidents between August 2014 and June 2015 showed that 80 per cent of offenders were male with most aged between 11 and 16.

These schemes are all to be applauded but we must also hope that they aren’t in response to a lack of education within homes.

Parents need to take responsibility to for teaching their children rights and wrongs and explaining about potential dangers.

There’s nothing wrong with a helping hand from the authorities but it must be in support of – not instead of – the information that young people receive from their parents.