Ten pupils aged between 11 and 12 from Dedworth Middle School in Windsor have completed Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (RBFRS) third FireBreak course, a personal development programme which aims to help young people develop a range of communication, team-working, leadership skills and self confidence.
The course was commissioned by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and was run by RBFRS between 3-6 October at Langley Fire Station. It is one of the ways that RBFRS contributes to a broader safety, health and wellbeing agenda by engaging young people and encouraging them to make positive choices.
FireBreak is specifically designed for pupils who may be struggling with issues such as low self-esteem or lack of confidence, providing them with a safe learning environment and giving them the opportunity to reflect on their experiences with the support of a mentor at the end of each day.
During the action packed course, the young participants took part in a number of activities, including a mix of practical drill sessions and classroom activities. For example, the pupils took part in squad drills, learned about the equipment on the fire appliance and got some experience in using a hose reel. They also wore breathing apparatus, learned more about fire safety and took part in moral reasoning and communication exercises.
At the end of the course, the pupils proudly demonstrated what they had learnt in front of their families and friends at a passing out parade on Thursday 6 October, where all the young people were presented with certificates by Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Southern.
Liz Warren, Risk Reduction Manager at RBFRS said: “The main aim of FireBreak is to help young people develop key skills and attitudes which will improve their long term prospects.
“This is the third time we have run the course and it continues to prove a big success: it is amazing what these young people have been able to accomplish in such a short space of time.
“Thanks must go to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for supporting FireBreak and recognising the benefits that it can have for young people. I would also like to say thank you to Station Manager Neil Watson, the crews at Langley Fire Station and members of the Risk Reduction Team for their hard work in delivering the course.”
Councillor Coppinger of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said: “The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead commitment to working in partnership with RBFRS on projects like FireBreak shows that emotional well-being of children and young people in the borough is an important priority with public health and to the council.”
One of the pupils that completed the course said: “When I found out about the course last month I felt happy yet scared at the same time. I thought that I couldn’t do it, but when I walked into the mess room I felt comfortable and safe. So after a couple of days, I feel more confident. My favourite thing I have done is the breathing apparatus maze because I am now a great leader”.