The 'What if?' project was initially born out of an idea by Essex County Council Emergency Planning Service through a European co-funded project.
As it developed, the 'What if?' project began to introduce products to engage children in interactive learning, and in 2007, it received recognition in the final assessment for Essex being awarded Beacon as exemplary. As a result of this commendation, the 'What if?' strategy was rolled out nationally and a number of Local Authorities who had also won beacon came together to support this initiative to raise childrens awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies as well as preparing schools to have emergency plans in place.
The 'What if?' campaign is targeted at 5 to 11 year olds and contains a series of fun and interactive elements including an interactive game, DVDs, puzzles, books and board games. The resources were initially developed to engage children, and test their appetite for learning. Essex has now developed a new website which is designed for use by teachers and which will also enable others to download an app of the website. However, all the products can be used outside of the classroom and they have been effectively used by children at home and by other emergency planners around the country. In Essex the newly formed partnership with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex County Council to deliver emergency planning has been able to enhance the work of 'What if?' and Essex Fire will be adopting this into their educational strategies.
Essex County Council, who co-created the project, have piloted this work with a number of schools in its county over a number of years, and feedback has been very positive.
For Further details and access to the 'What if?' resources visit: www.whatif-guidance.org