igen visited the Fire Service depot at Welwyn Garden City with fifteen learners who were keen to see what the Fire Service was about and how they dealt with situations.
The first session was on safety in cars and road traffic accidents (RTA). The team started by asking the students questions about experiences they had been through such as traffic accidents in or out of the car. This lead to students recalling incidents from drunk driving to being hit whilst crossing a road.
The groups were then shown three different videos about road traffic incidents. Each was a different approach to get the students to take a fresh look at what happens in an RTA.These approaches were varied; one was particularly hard hitting as you saw what was required from all the public services for just one incident. Another showed how the incidents affected the people involved and the students came to realise what a valuable job the Fire Service actually provides.
During lunch the Fire Service staff shared some of their experiences from RTA’s and how they had to deal with the consequences afterwards.
After lunch the staff and students were taken outside to begin the next activity. A call came through and the activity was put on hold as most of the station had to rush out the incident. This hit home to the students just how real the situation was, going from a training environment to something ‘real’ within minutes. The trainers adapted to this by showing the students around a Fire Engine. For those who were interested in the engineering side he recalled the specification of water pressure.
Whilst being shown around the Fire Engine the Fire Officers that had been called out had now returned and the planned activity could commence. The group went outside and were taken to a car which had been given to the Fire Service from a breakers yard.Two of the students were then dressed in Fire Service gear and put in the front of the car.
The Fire Engine was then pulled up and cutting equipment removed.The Fire Officers took it as a real drill so the atmosphere was quiet intense. Throughout, the ranking officer explained what was going on to the students so they would understand, why, for instance they put blocks around the car. (It was in order to prevent screens shattering and vibrations from the cutters, and also to balance the car.)
After being cut out of the car the two students described the event from their perspective inside the car. They said “The noise from the cutters made it so you could not hear what you were doing, it was almost deafening.” Throughout the experience officers talked to the students to reassure them that everything would be alright, the same as they would in an RTA.The students commented “It was very nice having someone there talking to you, it kind of took your mind off what was happening.”
After the car activity the group went back upstairs to reflect on the day. The students were very grateful to the Fire Service for giving them the opportunity and some of them said they were considering applying for the service.