THE dangers of tackling fires and controlling rioters were brought vividly to life for these Lytham youngsters.
Six pupils from Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts Project were brought together for a six-week course designed to sharpen their awareness of the emergency services.
The sessions were led by Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and St John Ambulance.
And as the course ended this week, the pupils pulled on their special uniforms and demonstrated to their parents what they had learned about tackling emergency situations.
From pulling a casualty out of a burning car, and holding a line of shields to help disperse a riot, the youngsters got a behind-the-scenes view of a crisis.
And it was an experience they aren’t likely to forget, according to 12-year-old Shannon Pettigrew, from St Bede’s High School. She said: “This course has really changed the way I look at the work of the emergency services.
“I don’t think before I really appreciated how much work goes into preparing for the situations they are called out to.
“I liked it when we got to use the fire hoses, it has really opened my eyes.”
Jordan Williamson, 13, from Lytham High said: “I had never really thought about what firefighters and police have to go through, it has been a brilliant experience. We learned some basic first aid, too. I have really enjoyed the whole experience.
“I think a lot of young people take the police and fire brigade for granted, but I have definitely got a lot more respect, now I know what goes on.”
Blocks of three-hour sessions were held weekly, and this week, as the course ended, parents were invited in to see what their children had learned.
They watched as the children simulated a response to a car accident, which saw them arrive on a fire engine in uniform, tackle the fire and provide basic first aid to a casualty.
Crew manager Paul Harrison, from Lytham fire station, where the course was held, said: “It was great seeing how the children really opened up after a few weeks.
“They loved doing the more practical aspects of the course, and they have really grown in confidence.
“Hopefully, this insight will mean some of them consider a career in one of the services.”
PCSO Gary Boardman said: “We nominated the youngsters to take part, and are pleased with how successful it’s been.
“It makes young people more aware of our work, and the course is also a good thing to have on their CVs.”