Multi-agency 999 day success in the south west

Over 1,200 young people were entertained and educated at an action packed multi-agency 999 day in the grounds of Bath and West show grounds.

The 999 event takes place annually and is organised by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Emergency services throughout the day staged live scenarios demonstrating partnership working within a variety of incidents including a car chase, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance's yellow helicopter landing, several police dog demonstrations and a victim being cut out of a road traffic collision.

This year over 17 schools attended from the Wells area. Head teacher Dave Scotney from Ashill community Primary School said: "The show gives the children an eye opening experience of situations that they might have heard of but not actually seen, as well as lots of good advice to make sure that they are safe."

Police Constable, Brett Gitsham based at Yeovil who is the commentator for 999 day said: "This is a really good event working together with other partnership agencies showing the children a lot of messages which may not be direct at the time, but then the teachers return to the classroom they do the quizzes 999 day provide and then discuss the situations over the next couple of weeks. With the school holidays fast approaching this is an ideal time to remind the children of safety messages. The young people really pay attention to all the activities going on, just now we had the police horses in the arena and you could have heard a pin drop.

"The bottom line is if we can keep one of these children safe now and in the future we've achieved what we need to achieve. The 999 day experience certainly stays with them for years; even now I have people in their 20s coming up to me in the street saying that they recognise me from 999 day, so the messages do stick."

Jackie Churchill from the Mendip and South Somerset Community Safety Partnership said: 'It's really great to see the young people actively becoming involved in community safety and doing it in a way that's really fun and interactive. Often when young people are enjoying something they will more readily take on board the message and share it with their family when they get home."

Also attending the day was Five Ways School, a forward looking special needs school. A sixth form teacher commented: "Our children really enjoy coming to see this event and we've been coming for several years now. The ones who have been here before remember their visit and know what they have come to see. They have been enthusiastically telling the new children about what to expect. This is great as I don't think our children always recognise and know what the emergency service do, but by coming here they have a visual reference and what they get back to school they talk about it for weeks. It really raises their awareness."

Posted: 12.10, 30.06.11,