Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Young Offenders mend their ways thanks to Firebreak

A special Firebreak course has seen a group of eight young people from the Youth Offending Service mend their ways with none of them getting into trouble since the course ended nearly three months ago.

The course took the youngsters, all aged between 13 and 17 years-old, through some of the skills it takes to become a firefighter teaching them the importance of discipline, communication and respect for others at the same time.

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 and smoke logged rooms.

The week long Firebreak course, which took place in Southend last November, was funded by the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner and held in partnership with the Youth Offending Service.

Donna Finch, ECFRS' Children and Young People Manager, said: “All of the young people taking part in this course have done so well. They have taken what they learned with us and used those lessons to improve their lives which takes real character.

“Each Firebreak course has its challenges but all of the instructors could see the huge improvement they were making in the week they were with us and it is fantastic to learn that they have not offended since they were with us.

“The instructors did a great job and it is testament to them that this course has proven as successful as it has. We have had amazing results with Firebreak in the past, we have worked with many different partners over the years and it is so incredibly rewarding to see how powerful a tool Firebreak is in helping young people get their lives’ on the right track.”

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