Over 50 Rangers and Explorers took away potentially life-saving messages from a road safety event held at Faversham Fire Station last night (Wednesday, 24 June).
The young people from Broadstairs, Faversham, Great Stone and Ramsgate saw Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) crashed car demonstration and heard first hand from firefighters about the dangers of distraction behind the wheel.
Faversham Crew Manager, Wayne Burney, explained: "Every day KFRS fire crews get called to a crash somewhere on the county’s roads, often with tragic consequences that mean someone’s family life will never be the same.
"This event allowed us to share our experiences using powerful clips and demonstrations to highlight the impact these incidents can have. If we can help change the behaviour of these young people and make them think twice about answering that call, or texting a friend while driving, that could potentially save another young life."
Katrina Wallace, PR representative for Girl Guiding in Faversham said: "The group have learned some really important messages about how to stay safe on the road as drivers. They’ve also been shown some techniques to use if they don’t feel safe as a passenger in a car. It’s vital for this age group as many are new drivers or they are about to learn."
Emily, a 20-year-old Faversham Ranger said: "I’m due to take my first driving lesson in a couple of weeks. Being here has made me realise there’s a lot more to think about and how careful I need to be. I will definitely be putting my mobile phone on silent and out of sight when I’m driving."
19-year-old Mark Revall, a young driver from Boughton, was one of four young people who acted as a mock casualty in a simulated car crash. After fire crews used hydraulic rescue equipment to release him from the mangled wreckage of the car and lifted him out on a spinal longboard, Mark said: "That’s definitely not something I ever want to do for real, it will certainly change my behaviour while I’m driving."
Wayne added: "There’s a lot to think about when you’re the driver without the added distraction of using your mobile phone. Make the right call, don’t use your phone when driving, you could lose far more than your driving licence. Concentrate on the driving, everything else can wait."
Throughout June KFRS is encouraging young people to enter an online competition to win an iPad mini and a VIP tour for up to 11 people of the brand new KFRS Road Safety Experience which opens to the public in April 2016. All they have to do is come up with a name for KFRS’s road safety car.
Find out more about our 'Are you #phonesafe when you drive?' campaign.
KFRS’s road safety initiative is also running alongside the Chief Fire Officer’s Association (CFOA) campaign, which also focusses on young drivers and passengers being distracted. Young people are still disproportionately at risk on the roads and are more at risk after passing their driving test.