Adults with learning disabilities are taking part in lessons specially designed by the Adult Learning and Fire Service Project (ALFS) to teach them important safety advice to give them greater independence in their day to day lives.

The 10-week course, which started on May 12, has been jointly organised by Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and Adult Leaning department with learners undertaking 10 lessons at the Franklin Vermeulen Safety Centre.

Paul Waknell, station manager for Oxon FRS, said: "We are really pleased to be involved in this project as we believe providing safety education is very important. Helping to teach adults with learning disabilities how they can make themselves safer is very rewarding. It is really good to hear how they are using the lessons they are learning in their everyday lives." Learners have taken on tasks including:

  • A survey at Frideswide Square in Oxford where the team spotted drivers using mobile phones, drivers or passengers not wearing seatbelts, cyclists going through red lights and cyclists riding on the pavement
  • A classroom-based driving simulation to encourage them to speak up and express their concerns if they felt unsafe with how the driver was driving
  • Completing a Home Fire Risk Check while practising what to do if there is a fire in their home.

Thomas, a learner on ALFS from Bicester, said: "It is teaching me a lot about safety in the home and is preparing me for when I move out from living with a carer and what the hazards are in the home." Over the other sessions, the group will learn about first aid, personal safety, internet safety, scams and rogue traders.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "This course is an excellent example of partnership working and really makes a difference to the lives of the adult learners. I would like to thank all involved in designing a course which is so effective."

For more information visit www.365alive.co.uk A version of this story first appeared on the Fire website, www.fire-magazine.com.