If you use the Makefile provided along the simple_fifo example, it should get compiled with debug symbols. On the console, you should see that the .cpp files get compiled with the "-g" switch. To actually make use of the debugging symbols, you have to execute the example in a debugger such as gdb (as Roman already pointed out).
By the way, "make -d" does not influence which flags are passed to the C++ compiler. It just makes the output of make itself more verbose.