Youths learn lifesaving skills from firemen

A group of young people in Bideford have been learning fire fighting skills in a bid to improve their future.

ONLOOKERS clapped as a group of youths smashed through a car window, but this was no act of criminal damage,. In fact, it was the exact opposite.

The youngsters were carrying out a road traffic collision drill under the watchful eye of local fire fighters, rescuing a ‘casualty’ from the vehicle as part of a new project.

Nick Williams, a fire fighter from Appledore, explained: “These young people all have issues such as being expelled from school or getting in trouble with the police, and we have taught them some of the skills needed as a fire fighter.

“This is the first time we have run the Phoenix Project in Bideford, though it has been successful previously in Barnstaple.

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“We hope it has given these young people some motivation, taught them team working skills and given them greater self esteem, getting them back on the right track.”

The exercise was a culmination of a week working alongside local fire fighters to learn valuable skills, and took place in the AFC Bideford football ground followed by an awards ceremony.

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With their friends and family watching, the seven young people from Bideford College, Park School and Great Torrington School undertook the training before carrying out a traffic collision and breathing apparatus drill.

Neil Blackburn, Group Commander for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service, said: “It is good to try and find things for youngsters to do and keep them occupied.”

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