Spreading the word
Very few of us were complete angels when we were younger. But for firefighter Craig Hallam his less-than-exemplary school record is something he uses to his advantage.
Craig, 36, spends one day a week at Fullhurst Community College.
It is a job he loves, and for the past three years it has allowed him to educate youngsters about the dangers of playing with fire.
Craig, who lives in Clarendon Park, is now an upstanding, responsible pillar of the community. However, he admits this wasn't always the case.
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"I'm not going to lie, I was a bit of a nuisance when I was a kid," he said.
"I was expelled from one school and asked to leave another, so I can relate to the issues that some of these kids have.
"I use it to my advantage, it gives me an 'in' into their world."
Three years ago, the fire service was forced to rethink the way it tackled deliberate fires.
In particular, it had repeated call outs to arson attacks at Braunstone Park.
So it came up with a hands-on approach and sent people such as Craig into the community to extinguish the problem before it took hold.
"We had all sorts of issues with kids setting fire to cars and bushes," said Craig.
The fire service recorded 77 deliberate incidents in Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields in 2010, and 113 in 2011.
This year, the number has been reduced to 67 (the figure does not include December).
So Craig has got his hands full but he knows how to handle the problem.
"I was born in Braunstone and I know a lot of these kids' parents which helps me when it comes to talking to them.
"It's a way of trying to tackle the problem before it starts if I can show them the seriousness of their actions before they even think about starting fires."
He is one of 19 firefighters with the job of educating schoolchildren in the city and county about issues related to fire safety.
He takes one day a week away from his other duties at Central fire station, in Lancaster Road, and holds safety sessions, demonstrations and extra-curricular trips with the pupils from Fullhurst.
He said: "I sit them down in sessions and tell them about the consequences. I try to give them the bigger picture.
"I tell them there are only six fire engines which cover the whole city.
"A lot of people think there are 10 or 20, but all we have is two at New Parks, two at central and two at Hastings Road.
"So if someone decides to set a fire in Braunstone Park and two engines are sent to deal with it, that only leaves four crews for anything major.
"If there's a bigger fire somewhere, that could cost people their lives."
Craig also takes the youngsters on after-school excursions.
He took five children on a ghost tour around Leicester, travelling between locations such as the Guildhall and Holy Bones, in a fire engine.
The kids used specialist equipment such as night-vision goggles, thermal imaging cameras and recording equipment at each location.
Craig also champions the fire service at events throughout the county.
His primary objective is to encourage people from under-represented groups such as black and ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as women, to join up and become firefighters.
"We took the fire engine to Pride this year and it was fantastic. We got a lot of interest," he said.
"We were asking people if they'd ever consider a career in the fire service and hopefully we'll see some of them again."