UK fire safety rap song criticized for price tag
The song cost almost $8,000 of taxpayer money to produce
By Martin Bagot
The Coventry Evening Telegraph
WEST MIDLANDS, England — A city councillor has claimed a rap song highlighting the importance of fire safety was too expensive.
West Midlands Fire Service has spent pounds 5,000 — almost $8,000 — of taxpayers money on The Fire Song which it hopes will become an internet hit.
It cost a total of pounds 10,000 to produce with the other half raised through grants.
Birmingham-based Corey 'SMan' Campbell was joined by fellow rapper Nigel Hinds on the safety-conscious song. Film director Daniel Alexander produced the video.
But Kevin Foster, a Coventry city councillor who was sitting on West Midlands Fire Authority board when the cost came to light, claims the project was too expensive.
He said: "I think a lot of people would be sceptical at a time when we need to be saving money, about spending pounds 5,000 of taxpayers money on a rap song.
"My concern is more about the extent of the cost rather than the nature of the item. The price of pounds 10,000 seems quite a lot. I'm sure there are other companies in Coventry that could have provided a better deal."
The song — which tells the true story of a family caught in a house fire — is particularly targeted at the black community which accounted for 12 per cent of house fires in the Midlands last year.
When first announced last month the rap was widely praised by fire chiefs as a creative way to get an important message across.
House fires in the Midlands last year made up nine per cent of the total across the UK, with 12 per cent of the homes not having a smoke alarm fitted.
Coun Foster said a recent cinema advert by the force warning about the dangers of irresponsible drinking cost pounds 1,800.
"That was quite funny and got the message across — rather than a pounds 10,000 rap song.
"If they can't show discounts have been made elsewhere in the marketing budget and clear results can be shown, then I'm sure many people will think the rap is actually something else that sounds similar.
"It's a pretty good song but the question is — did it really have to cost that much?" The video, which is seen as an attempt to use new ways of getting the fire safety message across to the public, has had more than 4,600 views so far on Youtube.
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