Youth engagement programme success in West Lothian

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The programme ran at Bathgate fire station with St Kentigern’s school.


A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service youth engagement programme ran at Bathgate fire station last week in conjunction with St Kentigern’s school in Blackburn, West Lothian.

Eight pupils took part in the week long programme that allows the pupils to experience basic fire service tasks such as team building, first aid, hose running and ladder climbing to develop physical stamina.

Local Area Liaison Officer Stuart Watson explains: “Working with young people means that the fire service can raise awareness and challenge attitudes to fire safety and other forms of anti-social behaviour.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Youth engagement project engages with young people aged between 12-17 in order to work towards reducing hoax calls and secondary fires and to increase awareness of local community safety issues.

“We encourage positive social behaviour by using a combination of intensive group work and fire service activities with a view to raising self-esteem, confidence, personal motivation and increase problem solving skills.”

During the course local firefighters taught the teenagers vital first aid skills, including how to perform CPR, giving them the confidence and knowledge to potentially save a life if they encounter someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest.

SFRS crews are ready to help people throughout Scotland gain the skills and confidence that could prevent a tragedy.

Every fire station in the country has been given a CPR demonstration kit, which includes a mannequin and instructional DVD donated by the British Heart Foundation.

Anyone who would like to learn CPR is encouraged to contact their local fire station.

West Lothian Council’s Executive Councillor for Services for the Community George Paul, commented: “I was delighted to be invited to the Cool Down Crew event at Bathgate Fire Station.  It was great to see the young people taking part in the exercises on the day, I’m sure that St Kentigern’s Academy would also be very proud of how they performed.  Events like this are a good opportunity for young people to find out more about the service and perhaps consider it as a career in the future.”

On the final day of the programme, the young people displayed a practical presentation to demonstrate the skills they have learned.  This was an opportunity to invite friends, family and teaching staff from St Kentigern’s along to the fire station to share in their success.

They were presented with certificates by Councillor George Paul to recognise their achievements.

The pupils that took part were:

Ryan Hamilton
Kieran McLeish
Owen Gibney
Tommy Palmer
Melissa Dolan
Holly McMillan
Hannah McCormick
John Size