Road safety push drives firies’ visit

SE­RI­OUS SIDE TO OZ­TAG FUN

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ali­son Bald­ing What other pro­grams should be taken to the cen­tre? @the­druitt

FIRE­FIGHT­ERS from Mt Druitt and St Marys vis­ited Cob­ham De­ten­tion Cen­tre re­cently to pass on a strong road safety mes­sage and have a fun game of Oz­tag.

Res­cuED is a road safety and ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, aimed at young driv­ers, run by Fire and Res­cue NSW.

It aims to re­duce the fre­quency and sever­ity of the tragedy and trauma caused by mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing 17 to 25 year olds.

The pro­gram is pre­dom­i­nantly of­fered in high schools but rookie fire­fighter Craig Kit­son, from Mt Druitt Fire Sta­tion, or­gan­ised the Cob­ham visit be­cause he knows first­hand the boys de­tained there would ben­e­fit from the les­son.

Be­fore join­ing the fire­fi­ight­ing ranks, Mr Kit­son worked as a youth worker at the cen­tre for al­most six years.

“I thought ‘why not give them a visit’, many are at the age where they will soon get or al­ready have their li­cence,” Mr Kit­son said.

“For ev­ery

100 young men who die (in Aus­tralia), 83 will die in a mo­tor ve­hi­cle or mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent – they make up about a quar­ter of all deaths on our roads.”

The boys were shown a video doc­u­ment­ing an ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing the son of a Dun­heved fire­fighter in 1998. Tim Rafton was 17 when, on Jan­uary 2 of that year, he set off on a road trip with mates. He was driv­ing about 130km/h in an 80km/h zone when a mo­men­tary lapse in con­cen­tra­tion meant he did not see the car in front of him soon enough.

As he swerved to avoid a crash, he lost con­trol and the car wrapped around a pole, land­ing on its side.

His legs were so badly crushed they needed to be am­pu­tated by a CareF­light doc­tor at the scene. The video sent a strong mes­sage to the boys and Cob­ham youth of­fi­cer Hulita said she was hope­ful the group would re­mem­ber the mes­sage.

She said she was sure the boys ap­pre­ci­ated the visit, es­pe­cially the Oz­tag game.

Fire­fight­ers from St Marys and Mt Druitt sta­tions en­joy a friendly game of Oz­tag with de­tainees from Cob­ham Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice Cen­tre in Wer­ring­ton.

Pic­tures: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

(Left and right) Fire­fight­ers put the de­tainees through their paces in a game of Oz­tag, while rookie fire­fighter Craig Kit­son (cen­tre) from Mt Druitt Fire Sta­tion talks to the young­sters about stay­ing safe while driv­ing.

Pic­ture: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

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