Firefighters saddle up in Falkirk and West Lothian

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Robert Thomson and Scott Williams Mountain bikes falkirk

 

Firefighters Scott Williams and Robert Thomson show off their hi-tech bikes at the Helix in Falkirk

 

FIREFIGHTERS have stepped up a gear in their efforts to reach out to the young people in Falkirk.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service can now be seen pedalling the country lanes around the town and the area of West Lothian thanks to a pair of mountain bikes.

The hi-tech cycles are perfectly equipped to handle the rough terrain when firefighters are heading off road.

And the bikes will enable the SFRS to cut down on the numbers of wildfires by spreading prevention messages.

Robert Thomson, Local Authority Liaison Officer for the Falkirk area, said: “This innovative initiative is one of the first of its kind in Scotland and already we are beginning to see the benefits of this.

“These bikes make it possible for us to reach out and interact with the community and provide a mobile, visible and accessible presence in a way that was not possible before.

“With this we can approach youngsters, who may be gathering in difficult to reach areas, engage them in conversation and the bikes themselves provide a talking point.”

Firefighters take to the saddle full kitted out in high visibility clothing, helmets and protective wear – setting a fine example of cycling safety.

The bicycles have been in use for more than a month and Robert, who is a keen cyclist in his own time, says the community has reacted well to seeing their local firefighters out and about.

He said: “We get a lot of people approaching us and speaking to us and it really helps us to spread our safety messages in the community.

“At the moment much of our focus is on the dangers of wildfires, and encouraging residents to be vigilant to the potential causes and how to avoid them.”

As well as heading out on their own community cycles, firefighters will often work in tandem with their emergency service partners in Police Scotland and the local authority’s community safety teams, working together to tackle common issues in the area.

Robert added: “These bikes allow us and our hardworking partners to get out into the more rural areas, off road and parks where we can work to prevent issues such as wildfires from happening in the first place.”

For more information on wildfires and how they can be prevented visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/wildfires

Follow the SFRS on Twitter: @fire_scot or search for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on Facebook and @ScotFireandRescueService on Instagram.

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