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Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service

December 15, 2016

Firefighters encourage pupils to get Fire Fit.

Firefighters are taking part in a pilot scheme aimed at improving fitness levels among 1st and 2nd form pupils. Twenty pupils from Laurelhill Community College and St Patrick's Academy, Lisburn are involved in the 6 week pilot, which is running in partnership with Sport NI and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said, "Firefighters are renowned for their high level of fitness and we want to share that expertise and encourage young people who may not be involved in sport or exercise to give it a go.  As a fire and rescue service we see the benefit to the community of working with other agencies in innovative ways, such as with the Fire Fitness Programme, to support the wider health and wellbeing agenda.  

Aidan Jennings, Eastern Area Commander, NIFRS added - "The six week pilot scheme is based on some of the drills that Firefighters undertake but the important message is to keep active, continue moving and to make fitness fun. Our main priority is to engage young people and encourage them to see the benefits of being more active. We want to instil a desire to keep active long after the scheme has finished. We have found that not only are participants improving their fitness but they are building their confidence and learning important team working skills.

"I would like to thank both schools, Laurelhill Community College and St Patrick’s Academy, for their support, and for the NIFRS personnel involved who have worked with and inspired the young people."

Chairman of the Council’s Community Planning Partnership Alderman William Leathem said: “Research has shown time and time again the considerable health and social benefits of keeping active and the Council was delighted to support this great scheme and the young people taking part.  I’d like to thank everybody involved.  Hopefully this scheme is the start of many and we can work with our other community planning partners in similar schemes across the City in the future.”

The pilot scheme is similar to those run by other Fire & Rescue Services in other areas of the UK including Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

The pilot scheme will be evaluated and if deemed successful may be extended to include other schools.