YOUNG offenders in Wigan spent a morning with firefighters as
part of a Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) pilot
project designed to make them think differently about car crime,
fire setting and discipline.
Blue Watch crews acted as role models when six teenagers from
Wigan Council's Youth Offending Team (YOT) donned fire gear and
joined in hose drills at Wigan Fire Station on Friday, May 17.
Watch Manager Tony Callaghan said: "It was great to have the
young people with us at the station and to see the difference in
attitude from when they arrived to when they left a few hours later
was really encouraging.
"We talked to them about the consequences of fire setting and
car crime and did some hose drills and had them shadow us wearing
breathing apparatus through a dark smoky training house.
"We really seemed to have a positive effect on them as
firefighters - and if we can discourage just one of them from
stealing a car and having an accident which sees us having to cut
them out of the wreckage, then it's worthwhile."
The teenagers, aged between 14 and 19 are on a six month rolling
programme with Wigan YOT working in partnership with Wigan Warriors
As part of their morning at the station, Firefigher Joe Steven
spoke to the young people about road traffic collisions the crews
have been to.
Wigan Warriors Community Development Officer Tommy Gallagher
said: "We approached GMFRS because we thought it would help the
young people with structure and discipline.
"Our involvement is about health, fitness and team building and
the young people really enjoyed their day with the fire crews at
"Hearing first hand from a firefighter about the consequences of
car crime and arson really struck a chord with them."
It's hoped the pilot project will see Wigan Blue Watch crews
become a regular fixture of the Wigan YOT programme.
One teenager said: "It was brilliant, I learnt loads about how
dangerous fires can be and the consequences of what could happen if
you steal a car."
Borough Manager Steve Sheridan said: "We hope this pilot scheme
will see Wigan YOT and Wigan Warriors in the Community work in
partnership with GMFRS on a regular basis to help engage with the
young people on fire and road safety.
"Not only will our crews have a positive impact on the lives of
these young people it helps get important messages about safety
across to them in accordance with GMFRS' Road Safety Strategy."
To find out more about Wigan Youth Offending Team go to
To find out more about Wigan Warriors in the Community go to http://www.wiganwarriors.com/WContent.aspx?id=58
To find out more about GMFRS Road Safety Strategy go to