After a gruelling day, it was great this evening to get along to Darlington Fire Station for the culmination of the latest Firebreak scheme.
Regular readers will know that I'm a Board member of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, and I try and support their events whenever I can. This evening, 11 young people who had completed the demanding Firebreak scheme gave a disciplined, professional display to their proud families, and then were awarded certficates by a senior fire officer.
Firebreak has been running in our area since 2000. It targets young people who are perhaps disaffected or on the verge of getting into serious bother - in this case from Hummerknott School and St Aidans Academy. The young people, if they choose to come onto the scheme (and there is no compulsion) then complete a 13-week course on disciplines which include team building, fire prevention, first aid, and practicaly tackling fire. Anyone watching their flawless display this evening in the yard, confidently using the kit and tools of fire fighters, could be in no doubt about how much they had gained from the course.
At the end of the course, they also received a portfolio record of the courses they had completed - valuable achievements they could show to potential employers in the future for example. The Firebreak scheme is a great example of how the fire service now isn't simply reactive - responding to fire callouts - but proactive, and playing an important community role. Both the young people passing out, and their trainers, should feel very proud this evening.