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Joint fire safety campaign by Cheshire Fire Authority and University of Chester wins national award

The pioneering campaign, includes an online viral marketing presentation with a James Bond theme
The pioneering campaign won the Partnership Initiative of the Year prize at the SHP IOSH Awards
The pioneering campaign included an online viral marketing presentation with a James Bond theme and a dramatic reconstruction of a fire in a student flat.

The campaign won the 'Partnership Initiative of the Year' prize at the SHP IOSH Awards, which recognise outstanding contributions in the world of health and safety.

The initiative was described by judges as 'a subtle, yet highly-focused campaign, aimed at transferring the principles of a good safety culture'.

Highlighting the ill effects of alcohol in terms of fire-related injuries and sexually transmitted infections to students both in Cheshire and in the USA, the viral advert was shown at University Open Days, during Induction Week activities and at city nightclubs during student nights, while 1,000 t-shirts, 2,000 posters and 25,000 beer mats also spread hard-hitting messages.

Social networking sites were a key tool in the campaign, with both the advert and the reconstruction, which involved student volunteers playing the leading roles, being uploaded onto YouTube and Facebook.

Dr Lesley Cooke, the University's Dean of Students, said: "We're thrilled to win such a prestigious award. It is a significant challenge to convey advice and information to young people about personal responsibility without sounding patronising or overbearing, but this clever campaign had a cheeky edge which both appealed to students and reinforced such an important message."

Social networking sites were a key tool in the campaign, with both the advert and the reconstruction being uploaded on YouTube and Facebook

Councillor David Topping, Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority added, "I am delighted that the Service's joint campaign with the University of Chester and colleagues in America has won this prestigious accolade.

"In the campaign, we were keen to highlight the risks to students in order to keep them safe, and by working in partnership and making full use of social networking sites, we were able to provide vital advice for young people going away to university and college and living on their own for the first time. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this award winning campaign a huge success."

In the UK, smoking materials and candles were the cause of around 1,900 student injuries between 2003 and 2008. The campaign was also run simultaneously in the United States, where the launch on Capitol Hill, Washington, was attended by the friends and relatives of some of the 18 American students killed in fires during the 2007/2008 academic year.

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