CHILDREN were given the chance to sit in a fire engine and dress up in uniform as they learned the importance of fire safety yesterday.

Pupils at Westlea Primary School were visited by a crew from Westlea for the Wilt-shire Fire and Rescue Service week of action as part of the Swindon Christmas Safety Campaign.

Crew manager, Mark Altree, was joined by his team of firefighters and youth development advisors who visit around 210 schools a year teaching vital safety tips.

As well as looking at the fire engine, children are taught important skills, including making sure the fire alarm is checked every week, how to exit their house if there is a fire and how to do drop and rolls.

Mark Altree said: “This is just one of the weeks events where we will be looking at all the different aspects of working for the fire service.

“These skills are important not only at this time of year but all-year-round and we have a team who visit the schools visiting around 1,500 pupils each year.

“The children are great and receptive at this age, and they go home and tell their parents and grandparents about what they have learnt, and often know more than them after these lessons.”

Jacques Monet, 11, and Pravi Chahal, 11, both got kitted out in the fireman’s gear yesterday and said that they would take the lessons they had learnt home with them.

Jacques said: “It is quite cool to see all the gear that fireman wear and to have a look around the fire engine and look at the equipment they use.

“It is good to learn about the safety tips that they give us and we will be telling our parents about them when we get home.”

Pravi said: “The hat’s are a lot heavier than I thought they would be but it is cool to try them on. We have learnt a lot like how to exit your home safely if there is a fire, and not to put too many plugs in a socket.”

Year six teacher Sarah Sumner organised the visit and said it was a good way for the children to meet their role models.

She said “It is an important part of the children’s awareness and it gives them a chance to meet some real role models who they can look up to.

“The children have been excited about the visit and they have learnt what a valuable service the firefighters provide.”