Fire crews key to social inclusion

Northumberland Fire and Rescue welcomes international partners from Denmark, Spain, Romania, Poland and Holland to the second workshop of the EU Firefighters Plus project.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue welcomes international partners from Denmark, Spain, Romania, Poland and Holland to the second workshop of the EU Firefighters Plus project.

Firefighters from around Europe descended on Northumberland for an international workshop.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) hosted partners from Denmark, Spain, Romania, Poland and Holland at the second workshop of the EU Firefighters Plus project.

The project aims to help firefighters to use their position as role models to promote social inclusion within their community.

Five fire and rescue services, including Northumberland’s, along with two NGOs with wide experience in the field of social cohesion and engagement, have joined forces to develop the first open and multi-lingual online training course for firefighters on how to use their position to promote social inclusion.

Northumberland welcomed the partners to West Hartford fire station to progress the project on to the first of two testing phases designed to assess the suitability of the tool for operational firefighters and identify improvements required.

Paul Hedley, chief fire officer at Northumberland said: “We are delighted to welcome our partners from the Firefighters Plus programme.

“We feel this is a great opportunity to utilise our skills and position within the community to help promote social inclusion, social cohesion and more diverse community safety, and help those more vulnerable.

“The event at West Hartford has allowed us to further develop the training tool and we are looking forward to the next steps.”

Coun John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The training tool developed through the Firefighters Plus project will benefit our communities. Using our fire teams to promote social inclusion will help our residents overcome inequality and disadvantage and will enable people and communities to fully participate in society.”