Young recruits praised after bonfire safety project success

Back L-R: Una McCartney, Pilots Row Community Centre; Derren Melly, Youth First; NIFRS LIFE Scheme Instructors Firefighter John Jennings, Crew Commander Brendan O'Brien, Firefighter Natalie Coyle, Firefighter Ryan Buchanan, Crew Commander Uel Gallagher; Avril McAllister, NI Housing Executive; Group Commander Mark Deeney, NIFRS.'Front row: Jack, Shane, Christopher, Liam, Caitlin, Lorna and Deirbhile, who have graduated as part of the LIFE Scheme.
Back L-R: Una McCartney, Pilots Row Community Centre; Derren Melly, Youth First; NIFRS LIFE Scheme Instructors Firefighter John Jennings, Crew Commander Brendan O'Brien, Firefighter Natalie Coyle, Firefighter Ryan Buchanan, Crew Commander Uel Gallagher; Avril McAllister, NI Housing Executive; Group Commander Mark Deeney, NIFRS.'Front row: Jack, Shane, Christopher, Liam, Caitlin, Lorna and Deirbhile, who have graduated as part of the LIFE Scheme.

A group of young people from the Bogside have graduated as part of a scheme to promote fire safety and bonfire awareness.

The teenagers had enrolled in the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIF&RS) Local Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) scheme, run in conjunction with the Housing Executive. The scheme was delivered at Northland Fire Station.

The purpose was to better inform young people aged from 13 to 17 of the dangers associated with bonfires, their negative impact on the local community and environment and to encourage them to consider alternative ways of celebrating key cultural events.

The young people were nominated onto the scheme by local youth workers through the Youth First and Pilots Row Community Centres.

Fire & Rescue Service Western Area Command Group Commander Mark Deeney said: “I am delighted to be part of this extremely positive multi-agency approach to educate and inform young people regarding the dangers of building bonfires.

“Firefighters play an important role within the community and we value our relations with young people across the city. The LIFE Scheme is an opportunity to engage positively and to help those involved in building bonfires to understand the impact this activity has on their communities and on the environment.”

Avril McAlister, the Housing Executive’s Area Manager, was delighted to see the young people graduating after their week long course, explaining: “The Housing Executive is about more than bricks and mortar and we believe it is important to encourage and foster social responsibility. We were pleased to offer our support which has enabled these young people to participate in NIF&RS’ LIFE Scheme.”