Mr Nick Chard, Chairman of the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA), will officially open Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) new state-of-the art, road safety education centre, known as the Road Safety Experience (RSE) and Rochester fire station today, Thursday, 16 June at 1pm. Pupils from Gad’s Hill school will also be there to experience the new centre.
The RSE is the first purpose built, facility of its kind in the UK. It uses powerful stories, exciting interactive experiences and information from experienced road safety experts. It aims to help young people learn from the experience of others, improve their safety and give them the skills they need to make better informed decisions in all driver and passenger situations. The centre will be operated by staff from KFRS as well as other agencies including Kent Police and the Highways England.
Nick said: "Over 177 car occupants aged 16-24 have been killed or seriously injured on Kent’s roads in the last three years. Providing first class road safety education is vital if we are to keep our young people safe, influence their attitudes and behaviours and help them become responsible drivers and passengers.1
“We are delighted to have been able to work with partners including Kent Police, Kent County Council, Medway Council and the Highways England to bring this truly innovative experience to the young people in our county.”
The new centre will provide supervised education visits for up to 95 young people a day. It is free to all schools, colleges and groups in Kent and Medway. The RSE is predominantly aimed at 14 to 25 year olds and has been designed for schools to spend a total of four hours on their visit. There is additional educational content that can be used before or after the students come for their experience. The centre features interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and thought provoking displays.
Firefighters, police, ambulance crews and others share their powerful testimonies of road crashes they have had to deal with, as well as their expert advice on how the young people can keep safe.
The RSE is based alongside KFRS’s new Rochester fire station on land at the former park and ride site near Rochester Airport in Marconi Way. The site was identified as a good location to provide improved emergency cover and the new fire station has firefighters based there round-the-clock, 365 days a year, to serve and protect the people of the Medway towns and Kent.
Every crash on our roads cause pain and heartache not just for the person hurt or killed but to passengers, families, friends and the emergency services who are called to assist them.
Nick added: “The risks and needs of the county are changing all the time and we need to be ready to respond to that. KFRS delivers an excellent service to local people and we are proud to be opening this new station and showcasing the work our firefighters do. As well as being a fire station, the building is a base for our North Kent group office and offers a base for ambulances from our partners at South East Coast Ambulance Service.”
The Department for Transport’s estimate that road traffic collisions cost the UK economy in excess of £16.3 billion per year. 2
Mr Chard will formally open the new RSE and Rochester fire station in front of KMFRA members and invited guests, who will get to look around the new station and the RSE.
 Kent County Council road safety
 UK Government British Road Safety Statement