Volume 21 Issue 2, 2006

Blazer to the Rescue! The role of puppetry in enhancing fire prevention and preparedness for young children

John Lidstone

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


Public education has repeatedly been shown as a cost-effective means to reduce the cost and impact of hazardous events on human lives. There is considerable overseas literature on the educational value of puppet-mediated educational intervention in public safety programs. However, effective and useful formal evaluation of its use in the context of fire safety education was found to be very limited internationally and reports of Australian experience of these kinds of interventions are negligible. This paper reports on a 12 month research study, funded by Emergency Management Australia, through its 2002 Grant in Aid scheme (Project 12/2002). The study was of a fire safety educational puppet show based on the Year 1 Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) Fire Ed program, and presented to early childhood students (P – 3) in Queensland. An independent evaluator attended all the performances to observe the students’ reactions. He then accompanied them to their classrooms after the performance to discuss their reactions and returned four to six weeks later to discuss fire safety with the students and to assess the impact of the performance on their longer-term understanding of fire safety issues.