Hazard Alley is an interactive safety education experience for children aged 6 to 12 years. Opened 25 years ago, the centre was the first purpose built venue of its kind in the country. A collaboration between the fire and police services, the centre consists of 12 everyday scenarios that children are accompanied through on a tour. Along the way, they encounter a series of dangers and hazards that they must first identify, and then talk about how they could reduce the risk and make themselves and the situation safer with their tour guide.

Jo Green is the Safety Centre’s Director. Clevertouch talked to Jo about the centre and the way in which new technologies have been recently incorporated to enhance the physical scenarios.

What experience do the children get at Hazard Alley?

The centre offers a multi-sensory experience. In effect, we’ve created a miniature village in a large warehouse featuring 12 different safety scenarios or zones. Each zone incorporates special effects such as the sound of an oncoming train and the damp uninviting smells of a dark alley best avoided, to make it as realistic as possible.

To date, the centre has taught almost half a million children to keep themselves safe around a range of different situations they may encounter like fire, water, in the home, railways, building sites, on the internet, stranger danger and crime. It has also taught them basic first aid skills and given them the confidence to handle practical tasks such as making a 999 call.

How have you incorporated Clevertouch interactive screens into the centre?

Most of the other scenarios use physical settings – a kitchen, a garage forecourt, a railway crossing. Our newest scenario ‘Safe places to cross’ has incorporated interactive screen-based activities that children must complete on a large Clevertouch screen.

We received fantastic feedback from visiting teachers and children who have described the screens as inclusive, fun, excellent to use and a great way to teach. The two Clevertouch screens used in the zone are just like giant tablets. The children are used to iPads and smart phones at home, so the interactive touch comes as second nature – the novelty being it’s so large!

How did you develop the activities?

We created two activities using Snowflake software apps from NUITEQ. Snowflake apps are very popular with teachers and come as standard on Clevertouch within the Cleverstore app library.

One activity encourages discussion about which places to cross the road are safe by swiping images across the screen and placing under the safe and unsafe headings. The other allows children to plan a route from home to school on a map using underpasses, bridges and pedestrian crossings, thereby teaching them how to choose the safest route rather than the most direct.

We’ve already received many positive comments about the use of the screens by the teachers from some of the schools that return year on year.

Is the technology easy to use?

My team received training from Mike Nunley at Clevertouch – and down to his support, we in-turn have successfully trained all our tour guides to use the activities on the screens with their groups. Bearing in mind that all our tour guides are volunteers and most are retired, they have positively embraced the new technology. I think I can therefore say, with the right training the technology is easy to use.