Our Safeside centres in Eastside and Handsworth provide experiential learning on safety issues for children, young people and adults. Individuals learn in different ways, and our Safeside experiences bring issues to life through asking questions, seeing and doing. Visitors to the centre will not only learn about the choices they make and the impact on others, but also the effects peer pressure can have.

The village in Eastside includes a double-decker bus, building society branch, shop, canal, court room, police station, house and much more! As well as fire safety issues, road, water and personal safety are a key part of our programmes. Key issues such as vandalism, drugs and alcohol, financial awareness, what to do in an emergency and life skills for independent living.

Our Handsworth centre is based on a working fire station, focussing on early years and community groups.

We’re always looking for volunteers to support us with our work – see our Volunteering section for more.

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Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Safeside programmes:

Bright Sparks (for 3-5s, parents and carers)

Children form their attitudes towards risk early in their development

Course Summary: Bright Sparks is designed for children in nursery and reception classes. It gives them the opportunity to have a tour of a working fire station and dress up like firefighters. Included in the visit is a tour of the fire engine bay and pole room and, if one’s available, the chance to get close to a fire engine and take photos. At the end of the tour the children will be read a story by a member of Safeside staff.

Visit arrangements: This tour is based at our Handsworth Centre. There is a limit of 30 children, but we can provide a classroom for an additional group – supervised by your staff – so larger groups can attend and save on coach costs. This visit lasts between 45 minutes to an hour and costs £1 per child.

Our children really enjoyed the visit. We thought it was fantastic!

Nursery Teacher

Junior Citizen (for years 5 and 6, or Key Stage 2)

Around 60 people a year die on the railways, and 2,000 on the roads

Course Summary: Based at our Eastside Centre, Junior Citizen focuses on personal safety and citizenship. It brings the Personal, Social and Economic Education (PSHE) curriculum to life, through 11 life-like scenarios which include a road crossing, bus, train, canal, car, house, alleyway, food store and street scene.

In an interactive, practical two-hour tour, children learn to recognise key dangers and understand how to reduce risk to themselves and others.

By presenting learning in visual and auditory formats, and in ways which enable children to learn through physical activities, the programme appeals to all children. It especially engages those who find formal education more difficult.

Each group of around six children is led by a trained visitor guide. Rather than learning a set of rigid rules, children are instead challenged to think for themselves and develop skills which they can apply in different life situations.

Included in the visit fee is (Check “are” in PDF ) is a half day of workshops. These allow us to cover some topics in more depth, especially road safety, public transport, and journey planning skills

Visit Arrangements: All children start together for a short introduction. They are then divided into small groups for their tour with a trained Volunteer Visitor Guide. Each scenario lasts exactly nine minutes. After the tour, we re-group for an interactive quiz to assess and summarise learning. This part lasts about two hours. The whole day (including the workshops) costs just £6 per pupil.

Schools can book workshops either before or after their main Junior Citizen tour, making the visit into a whole day. We can cater for up to 60 children in workshops at one time. When coupled with the main tour, this means we can cater for up to 4 classes (120 children) over the day.

This is an amazing trip. The children learn so much in such a short space of time. All of the scenarios are very relevant and the children absolutely love the trip. There is no other way we could teach the children about safety in such a short amount of time and so effectively.


Junior Citizen was brilliant. I strongly believe it should be a compulsory part of the curriculum.



Children can drown in less than 5cm of water

Course Summary: SafeStart aims to increase the confidence and skills of parents and carers of babies, pre-school children and Foundation Stage children. We cover the main safety issues for this age group including road safety, in-car safety, fire safety, general home safety and basic first aid. Our safety village, with its realistic house and street scene, enables parents and carers to learn about these issues in a non-threatening, fun, practical and relaxed environment.

Visit arrangements: Based at our Eastside Centre, the tour is suitable for parents and parents-to-be, family members and other carers, and professionals who work with young children or are training to do so. It is not aimed at children themselves. We welcome parents and carers from children’s centres, parent and toddler groups, dads’ groups, playgroups, nurseries, day care groups or anywhere that parents or carers meet.

Crèche arrangements will be need to be made back at nurseries or children’s centres if possible, so that visitors can concentrate on the tour and not be distracted by caring for children. However, a room can be booked for a crèche at Safeside which visitor organisers will need to staff and be responsible for.

Why not get a group of parents or carers together and arrange a tour of our exciting safety village with one of our friendly and experienced presenters? We can take up to 36 adults at a time on this tour and it’s FREE, with subsidised travel for a limited period.

Well thought out and a really good day. All of the parents took something relevant away with them and said that they would be implementing these as soon as possible.

Children's Centre Manager

Fire Crew and Fire Crew Plus

Smoke kills more people than fire. Even a few breaths of toxic fumes can knock you out.

Course Summary: Fire Crew is designed for Key Stage 2, and Fire Crew Plus for Key Stage 3. Both of the two-hour programmes are designed to be exciting and practical, looking at the work of the fire service.

The Key Stage 2 session includes a fire safety check in our realistic home scenario, with experience of a fire ‘flashover’ to see how fast fire can spread, a tour of the fire station incorporating fire engine areas, and checking over an engine, and a computer-based exercise about a road accident.

Key Stage 3 visitors also experience fire incident training, working with fire hoses, a simulated casualty search and some basic first aid.

Visit Arrangements: Based at our Handsworth Centre, we can cater for up to 36 pupils. Visit groups start in the briefing room with a short introduction. They are then divided into fire ‘Watches’ (teams). Each Watch is assigned a Presenter who takes them round the different activity areas and, at the end of the session, teams re-group for an interactive quiz to check and summarise learning.

The delivery was excellent and the children learned lots.



Teenage boys are six times more likely to be killed or injured on a bike than girls.

Course Summary: Delivered in partnership with Birmingham School of Acting. Visitors experience some powerfully acted scenarios and workshop-style discussions. Other scenarios are delivered by our own presenter team. They all challenge young people to think about crucial personal safety issues and responsibility, covering significant sections of the PSHE curriculum at Key Stage 3. This includes peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, road safety, water safety, consequences of crime and much more. By the end of the course, pupils should be able to recognise danger, assess risk and make things safer, as well as know what to do in an emergency and how to develop effective ways of dealing with peer pressure.

Visit Arrangements: After a short introduction, pupils are divided into smaller groups. After experiencing both the acted scenarios and those delivered by our presenters, they re-group for an interactive quiz, to assess and summarise learning.

Based at our Eastside Centre, we can deliver the course to up to 60 pupils. The whole visit lasts around two hours and costs £3 per pupil.

Due to the actors’ availability, LifeSkills is only available on Tuesdays from November until Easter. (Check timescale)

A big thank you to all the staff at Safeside. This programme is so good it should be compulsory for Year 7 and Year 8



135 under 15s died last year in collisions with motor vehicles

Course Summary: N-Gage is similar to our LifeSkills course and covers a number of PSHE and citizenship objectives at Key Stages 3 and 4, including peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, internet safety, road safety, water safety, fire safety, consequences of crime, rights and responsibilities and more. It is delivered in an interactive tour in realistic scenarios such as a street, house, bus, court room and dark alleyway. There is plenty of opportunity for open questions and discussion. As well as schools, it is suitable for youth groups in evenings, weekends and school holidays.

Visit Arrangements: N-Gage tours cater for a minimum of 12 visitors and a maximum of 60. Visits start in our conference room with a short introduction. Pupils then split into smaller groups and each is assigned a presenter who leads them around a different scenario every 10 minutes. After the interactive circuit, groups come back together for a quiz using electronic voting, to asses and summarise learning.

Based at our Eastside Centre, the whole visit lasts around two hours and costs £6 per pupil.

Safeside is a fantastic learning environment for students. As well as having a fantastic time that they talked about for days afterwards, our students learned a lot.



59% of pupils failed to select the best value supermarket ‘multi-buy’ offer from a choice of three.

Course Summary: Being money-savvy is important for all ages, and teaching young people to budget, save and spend wisely needn’t be dull! Our MoneyLive programme for Key Stages 3 and 4 is fun and interactive. It is delivered in partnership with Nationwide Building Society, whose local branch staff join our presenter team to deliver the event. Using our house, Nationwide branch, Co-op store, bus and court room, the interactive programme examines real-life scenarios that young people can relate to, such as saving for a pet, opening an account, online safety, finding special offers and using a cash machine. It’s also a great chance for pupils to see the relevance of maths in everyday life. Our aim is increase confidence and skill levels for all our visitors and create an experience that will benefit them for years to come.

Visit Arrangements: The course starts in our conference room with a short introduction and quiz. Pupils are then divided into smaller groups to tour each of our six money scenarios. The quiz is then run again – this time with the answers! – to assess learning. It’s aimed at year groups 9-11, and based at our Eastside Centre where we can cater for up to 60 pupils in a single two-hoursession. It costs £2.50 each and tour times are from 0945 – 1145 and 1245 – 1445 (Check).   

A very clever way of teaching maths and money management.


YOYO (You're On Your Own)

Around 33,000 deaths a year are caused by alcohol-related accidents and disease

Course Summary: Using the realistic scenarios in the Safeside village, YOYO is a relaxed, non-threatening and non-judgmental two-hour session for young people aged 16 and over. It’s to help visitors improve their independent living skills and keep themselves and others safe. Topics covered include home safety and householder responsibilities, personal safety – including drugs and alcohol awareness – fire safety, in-car safety, travel safety and personal decision making. There’s also guidance on financial safety and budgeting, as well as local information on jobs, benefits and housing.

Visit Arrangements: YOYO is designed for young adults leaving care, students, school leavers, young offenders and teenage parents, with a target age range of 16-22. Visits are adapted to the ages in the groups. The two-hour tour is ideal for anyone coping independently for the first time. Visits start in our conference room with a short introduction. Visitors are then divided into smaller groups, each with one of our trained presenters who leads them around realistic scenarios including our house, internet cafe, Nationwide branch, court room and street. At the end of the tour, visitors re-group for a short quiz, further information and the chance to ask questions. Visits can be booked by any organisation working with the target group. It takes place at our Eastside Centre, where we can cater for 12-60 young people in each two-hour session. It cost £6 per person.

A fantastic way to engage with young people on the life skills no-one else is teaching them.

Youth Leader

Safety and Life Skills for SEN

Did you know that West Midlands Fire Service can fit special smoke alarms for people with hearing difficulties?

Course Summary: Our Special Needs tours are suitable for children and adults, and are delivered by firefighters trained in special needs education. Tours are tailored to the needs of the group, and are designed to increase awareness of relevant safety issues and increase independence, through near-real experiences.

Visit Arrangements: Held at our Eastside Centre, and available to all ages, the courses usually start with a short introduction in our conference room. Visitors are then taken by our Special Needs Educators to agreed scenarios. Timings are flexible, up to an hour and a half. We finish with a few questions and a discussion, or a quiz as appropriate. We’ll discuss your group’s specific needs when you book. We can cater for up to 30 visitors at a cost of £5 per visitor.

Even though our pupils have behavioural difficulties the level of the tour was perfect… I was pleased how much info our pupils took on. Thank you.

Group Leader

In-schools Education

Venue: Your School

Audience: All Key Stages

Focus: Fire and road safety

Cost: No charge

Capacity: Class session size

If you have a fire at home, it’s the same as at school: Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999!

Course Summary: West Midlands Fire Service firefighters can come into your school to provide the following sessions:

Foundation Stage
People Who Help Us – Find out about what firefighters do, and what’s safe and dangerous.

Key Stage 1 Year 2
Great Fire Safety Session – Find out more about fire safety, contrasting today with the Great Fire of London of 1666.

Key Stage 2 Year 4
SPARK – Pupils learn about staying safe and keeping those around them safe from fire.

Schools Safety Challenge
Year 5 pupils can take part in the West Midlands Fire Service Schools Safety Challenge. It’s an on-line set of informative and fun tasks, which culminate in an inter-school quiz at a fire station with the final being held at Safeside. Find out more at www.schoolschallenge.wmfs.net.

Year 6
Arson and Hoax – Where there are specific issues with deliberate fires or hoax calls, our firefighters can deliver a session highlighting the consequences and dangers.

Secondary School
Firefighters can visit Key Stage 3-4 students in school, to deliver ‘Your Choice’ packages based on fire safety and road safety.

Special Educational Needs
Operational firefighters with specific training provide a variety of sessions tailored to the needs and requirements of groups and classes with learning disabilities.

Visit Arrangements:
To find out more about any of these programmes, please email: education.team@wmfs.net, call us on 0121 380 6196 or write to

Schools Education
West Midlands Fire Service
101 Vauxhall Road
Birmingham B7 4HW

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