Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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3,000th Firebreak Student

The Service’s hugely successful Firebreak scheme has reached another milestone with its 3,000th student completing the course on Friday, May 2.

Tommy Tableporter, who is the official 3,000th Firebreak student, was one of 12 teenagers to take on the course at Maldon Fire Station this week.

Tommy, 13 a pupil at Sandon School in Sandon, said: “I was put forward for the course by my school and it has been brilliant. I have enjoyed the whole week but my favourite part was the breathing apparatus, wearing the full kit and going in the chamber just the same as a real firefighter.

“Through the week I have learned a lot about teamwork, we didn’t know each other at the start of week and by the end of the week we were all working as a team together so now I know that I can work as part of a team and that by working together we can get more done.

“The course has been real fun and a great learning experience.”

Firebreak uses the training firefighters undertake to develop participants' skills in working together, building their confidence, teaching them the value of team work and accepting responsibility as they undertake a series of challenging tasks including using the Service’s powerful hose reels, wearing specialist breathing apparatus, climbing ladders and rescuing people trapped in buildings.  

The course has been running for nearly a decade helping thousands of young people to recognise what they are capable of and teaching them how they can reach their full potential.

Donna Finch, Children, Young People and Safeguarding Manager, said: “We are delighted that the Firebreak course has achieved this milestone. To have reached 3,000 young people is an amazing achievement and testament to the fantastic team we have working on Firebreak.

“Firefighters from across the County have given hundreds of hours making Firebreak the success that it is and I would like to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication.

“This year we will be running more courses than ever, working with more people across Essex so we are already looking forward to our next milestone.”

The Children and Young People Team have created bespoke Firebreak courses in order to ensure that the wider community are able to take part in this award winning accredited scheme.  From those on the gifted and talented register to the long-term unemployed and a group of young offenders, 100% of whom have not re-offended in the three months since completing the course.   Recently bespoke courses have been held for Family Solutions, helping families to acheive shared goals and outcomes.

The Service has also become the first to create a course for people with Down Syndrome. Working with charity Down Syndrome Extra 21 the Service has held five courses for young people and one for adults with Down Syndrome. The course was nominated for a Guardian Public Service Award and has won World Down Syndrome Day Award from Down Syndrome International. The award recognises the scheme’s outstanding achievements which have strengthened and enriched the lives of people with Down Syndrome.

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