News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has been presented with a prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its innovative road safety project ‘Biker Down’.
The pioneering motorcycle safety course - launched in August 2011 and delivered out of Ashford Fire Station - was devised by KFRS’s Fire Bike team and was the first of its kind to be delivered by firefighters.
The award was presented to KFRSs Chief Executive Ann Millington and the team at Ashford Fire Station by Karen Cole, Director of Safety for the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) on Thursday evening at a Biker Down evening (31 January 2013).
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent approved the recommendation of the judging panel that the course should receive recognition as a valuable initiative run by committed staff. This achievement was officially announced in December at the Annual Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards Ceremony in London.
The aim of the course is to help reduce injuries and fatalities from motorcycle accidents and the team works alongside KFRS Emergency Life Support Instructors, KFRS volunteers and trainers from bike safety organisation, Survival Skills Advanced Motorcycle Trainers.
Designed for motorcyclists of all ages and experience, the free course offers the chance to learn what to do should they find themselves first at the scene of a motorcycle accident, essential first-aid advice to assist any casualty and theoretical input on how to avoid being involved in a collision.
FirefighterJim Sanderson, from KFRS’s Fire Bike team, who devised the course, explains: “Many bikers travel in groups or pairs and in the event of an accident it is often a fellow biker who is first on the scene, so the care of a downed rider is uppermost in their mind. Our team, which includes a group of dedicated volunteers, offers people guidance in essential life-saving skills and scene management to help them cope should they encounter or become involved in a road traffic collision.”
KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: “We are extremely honoured to receive this prestigious and internationally recognised award, and it is a great achievement for the team, including the many volunteers who commit their time and enthusiasm in putting on the courses, and interacting with fellow motorcyclists to help keep them safe out on the roads.”
MCIA Director of Safety Karen Cole said: “Biker Down is a marvellous initiative which can only help to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries by helping motorcyclists to assist others in the event of an accident. As a motorcyclist myself, I am delighted to present this award and would like thank everyone involved in this worthwhile scheme on behalf of the motorcycle industry.”
Demand for this scheme has been high, and KFRS has been able to offer it to a wide number of motorcycle clubs and groups, as well as individuals. The Biker Down scheme has a large following on social media, with a regularly updated Facebook page providing an online resource for motorcyclists. The use of social media as part of the on going safety campaign was praised by the judging panel.
The scheme has generated a lot of interest nationally from other fire and rescue services and road safety teams. Several other organisations around the UK have now adopted the scheme in their area, while others also plan to start delivering the course soon.
Note to editors:
· For further information on Kent Fire and Rescue Services Fire Bike project click here or make contact on Facebook by searching Kent Fire Bike or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Photographs from the presentation are available from www.kentfirephotos.co.uk