I went with a couple of Fire Board members to visit the site of the new training centre at Clydesmill Industrial Estate the other week, and was impressed by the scale of the development. The training centre should be a great asset to SFR (and hopefully wider!), and I hope it will be a success. The facilities aims to be as realistic as possible to give firefighters the best possible training. There will also be an academic block to allow for seminars and conferences.
It's a large site, and will also house the merged Cambuslang-Parkhead station. I noticed on the visit that you can actually see the current Cambuslang station from the site - obviously Parkhead is a wee bit further away. Hmm. One of the Councillors on the trip seemed to be trying to bait me on the issue. I accept the Fire Board voted against retaining Parkhead, but that doesn't mean I concede the argument.
On a much happier note, I visited North East Area Headquarters in the Calton and got to see the award winning Firereach programme in action. This aims to break down barriers between young people and fire fighters, allowing them to learn about the dangers of fire while having a bit of fun training with fire crews. It started in Easterhouse as a means to deal with fire hydrant vandalism and anti-social behaviour, and has snowballed due to the hard work of some very dedicated firefighters.
When I visited on Friday, third year pupils from St Mungo's were taking part in fire hose drills and fire and rescue simulation activities in Kilbirnie House. They certainly looked like they were getting a lot out of it. I sat in on two of the boys completing a 'rescue' in the cage room - they had to work together to negotiate their way around a two storey cage structure in the pitch dark wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus. It's a great way of encouraging teamwork and communication, and I was impressed by the serious way the young people treated the exercise. It's certainly a good way of instilling respect for the dangerous work carried out by firefighters. Check out the video below!