Firefighters work in partnership with skaters

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FIREFIGHTERS are working with Pevensey skate park enthusiasts in a bid to keep skaters safe.

The project comes in the aftermath of a spate of recent fires at the Pevensey Skate Park which raised concerns about their safety while out enjoying themselves.

As a direct result of the incidents, firefighter Dean McFaite carried out a survey of the skate park to assess the situation and ensure it’s a safe haven for youngsters to spend time together. He also met with the park’s users, Councillor Tony Freebody, members of the parish council and parents.

Dean said, “It was clear to me the problem area was on the east side of the skate ramp, where the ground had been charred by previous fires. Looking around, I identified that the shelter facilities for parents and young people were far from ideal, as it did not protect from any prevailing weather or provide adequate shelter for people.

“Having spoken to the young people, it was clear they were using the east side to shelter from the westerly weather and that a certain individual, who was not a regular user of the skate park, may have had some involvement in the fire setting.

“I feel the fires there had been created to keep warm and, after speaking with the young people, I believe they did not have an understanding of the potential consequences of the fires. However, after talking to them, they now understand the ultimate repercussions. Our skills as firefighters will definitely be of benefit in helping to assist the way forward at Pevensey.”

Those behind the skatepark say they may now visit other venues to see how they could potentially adopt some of the methods used there.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is recommending the skate ramps metal framed ends need to be closed in, which will help prevent any fires occurring in the future, the shelter needs to be “fit for purpose” and its positioning considered and young people need to be consulted with.

Anyone with any concerns about a young person they think may be fire setting can contact ESFRS on 0303 999 1000. Fire setting programmes are available in which trained and skilled firefighters can mentor individuals.