Fire safety from Shropshire to Poland

Polish firefighter Grzegorz Gorczynske with resident Anna Gorzika and Oswestry firefighter Alan Walker

Fire safety for families from Poland living in Shropshire was served up at a social evening held at a county fire station.

A number of Polish families who have now made their homes in the county were invited to Oswestry Fire Station along with four firefighters from the city of Lodz in central Poland on a European cultural exchange visit funded through the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme.

A key part of the visit was to help Shropshire firefighters to communicate fire safety messages to members of the Polish community living in and around the county, said fire officer John Harrison.

"Many families attended and we would like to build on this event to maintain the close links forged during the evening to ensure that all groups living in the county have access to the community safety services we offer," said fire officer John Harrison

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Worrall said it was a very successful evening in which firefighters from both Poland and Shropshire shared fire safety initiatives and offered free Home Safety Risk Assessments and smoke alarms to families at the event.

"The event forms part of a greater strategy to improve the safety of all nationalities living in our local communities," he said.

Fire Authority chairman Stuart West said it had been "a very sociable evening" in which people shared the experiences and differences between living in the UK and Poland with the help of a Polish interpreter.

Polish firefighter Grzegorz Górczynski said that they learned so much about community fire safety from the work done by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"There is a real emphasis in Shropshire on preventing fires and other accidents and providing education for all members of the community. The offering of free Home safety risk assessments and free smoke alarms is a very innovative approach to ensuring safety and preventing incidents," he said.

A group of Shropshire officers visited Lodz in September to share fire safety practices aimed at further reducing deaths and injuries in fires, road traffic collisions and other accidents.

Shropshire fire crews worked with partner agencies including Shropshire County Council as well as with voluntary organisations to forge links with Polish families living and working in the county to organise the get together.

The officers attending were: Andrzej Bohdanowicz, Grzegorz Górczynski, Piotr Lukasik, Marek Skrobek Interpreter and member of Lodz fire service Katarzyna Adamczewska.

22nd December, 2009