News release text
They have pitched ladders, worn breathing apparatus, learned casualty rescue techniques and even used hydraulic cutting gear to free a ‘mock’ casualty from a crashed car but isn’t a trainee firefighters course!
The six-week programme was aimed at 12 to 16-year-olds who were trained by firefighters at Dartford Fire Station. For those successfully completing the scheme, it will culminate with a passing out ceremony involving a demonstration in front of their own families, on Monday 24 February.
Course organiser, White Watch Firefighter, Gary Abrahams said: “Many of these youngsters have had difficult and challenging lives. Some have low self-esteem and lack confidence because they’ve been bullied. Others have got into trouble or are on the fringes of getting into more serious trouble.
“The course aims to raise their sense of personal responsibility, build discipline, give them some self belief and confidence, while helping develop team building skills.”
Before embarking on Firefighting Chance, all participants have to successfully complete Fighting Chance, a 12-week judo course which aims to show them how to manage aggressive behaviour, teaches discipline and to respect authority.
Jill Stubberfield explained how her 13-year-old son Andrew has grown in confidence since taking part. “Andrew had problems at school and was bullied by other children. This course has brought him out of himself, taught him new skills and made him realise what he can achieve if he keeps working at it.”
Notes to Editor
· Reporters and photographers are invited to attend the passing out parade on Monday, 24 February at Dartford Fire Station, Watling Street, Dartford, Kent DA2 6EG from 6.15pm sharp. It involves the youngsters carrying out a car cutting demonstration, under the supervision of fire crews. Please confirm your attendance.
· Over 200 youngsters from the borough of Dartford have benefited from the programme (Fighting Chance and Firefighting Chance) over the last three years and only four have reoffended.
· During the period that these courses have been running, there has been a decrease in anti-social behaviour in the Dartford borough.
Fighting Chance is run in partnership with the Kent People’s Trust, Kent Police and the local council or Community Safety Unit. It aims to break down any barriers between the young people and the organisations.