Fire safety for children

City of Vancouver
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services

Mouse House

March 2012 - December 2012

Artwork production
User experience
User interface

Pen & paper
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Wacom Intuos Tablet

During my tenure as an Infographics Specialist at the City of Vancouver, working with the Web Redevelopment Project team, I was approached by representatives from the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, with the following mandate:

"Help the VFRS raise awareness among local children on the main fire hazards within a typical North American house, while also educate them on things like fire exits and explosion risks found in the attic or the basement of their home."

My colleague Tony Chung and I decided to use Richard Scarry's - the famous American children's author and illustrator who published over 300 books - as an inspiration point. His unique style of illustration and the fact that his books were grouped around main activities, areas or services, made perfect sense for this particular project.

Thus, I created a typical Vancouver house in Illustrator, displaying a bedroom, an office, a living room and a kitchen on the 2 main floors, plus an attic and a basement, all with their common fire hazards. This project became known throughout the City as the "Mouse House".

Below is a clear example of how the bedroom radiator is too close to the blanket, thus becoming a fire hazard (red). Also, in the kitchen, I chose the highlight (in red, again) the oven and the fire extinguisher (not a fire hazard, but a fire hazard "cure").

As mentioned before, the top floor of the house displays the typical fire hazards in a bedroom and an office (an overloaded outlet), while also pointing out the importance of smoke detectors and sprinklers.

The first floor displays the typical fire hazards in a living room (fire place) and the kitchen (stove/oven). The fireplace tools are labelled in red because they might be hot at times, posing a hazard for little ones. There is also a fire escape route on the fridge, raising awareness on the importance of having one.

Finally, the basement displays the CO detector, the fuse box and the strapped water tank, which is connected via a flexible gas pipe, since Vancouver is located in a highly seismic area, prone to earthquakes.

Other illustrations created for the purpose of this project - Barry, the Firefighter Beaver among them.

This project turned out to be a major success. During our testing sessions with the Analytic Design Group, we were happy to see that people of all ages embraced this idea and thought it was great to have a colour copy displayed in each community centre and pre-schools, while kids are given a black-and-white copy to colour and by doing so, learn more about the fire hazards in each room.