Little Havens Hospice Firebreak Course
A group of 10 youngsters from Little Havens Hospice took part in a special Firebreak course at Southend Fire Station this week.
The course, which took place between February 16 and 19, used firefighting training and skills to boost participant’s confidence. All of the children taking part are either living with life limiting conditions and are currently being cared for by Little Havens Hospice or attend the hospice’s support groups because they have a family member currently living with a life limiting condition or who has died.
Over the course of the week Firebreak develops participant’s skills in working together, builds their confidence, teaches 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 and smoke logged rooms.
The week culminates in a passout ceremony in which the Firebreak crew show their parents some of the skills they have learned during their time with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
Alison Mullins, Little Haven's Sibling Support Worker, said: “We were approached and asked if this is something we would like to do and of course we said yes.
“Two of the participants are young people we are caring for who have life limiting illnesses and the others are all siblings or children of people with life limiting illnesses or who has died. At first everyone was a little apprehensive but I have seen the excitement build each day as they got more and more involved.
“It has been a fantastic week. It's so nice that these young people have had a chance to do something which is all about them and not about illness. I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in making the course happen.”
Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley presented all the participants with their awards at Thursday's Passout ceremony. He said: “I'm immensely proud, not only of our officers but of all the kids from Little Havens.
“It's a real privilege for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to be able to support such a tremendous cause. For kids living with life limiting illness to be able to do what they have done is something they and their families should feel extremely proud of. It makes me feel proud that we as a Service have been able to provide this course for them.”
Donna Finch, ECFRS Children and Young People Manager, said: “For myself and the instructors this has been a very positive and humbling experience. All the young people on this course are so brave it has been a privilege working with them.”