Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Firefighters in Lanarkshire get on their bikes

Firefighters with their bikes
The scheme is the first in Scotland to use bikes in this way

Firefighters in Lanarkshire are taking to the streets on bikes in a bid to make them and their fire safety message more accessible to the public.

The Stop and Talk initiative is the first of its kind in Scotland and is being piloted in the Bellshill area.

It involves firefighters on bikes going into local communities to talk to people about any safety issues and address anti-social behaviour concerns.

The pedalling officers will also visit schools, business and clubs.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue's area commander Robert Scott said: "The Stop and Talk scheme will allow our firefighters to get out into the communities we serve and interact with the residents of North Lanarkshire to give valuable safety advice."

Councillor Jim McCabe, leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: "The council is very pleased to support the Stop and Talk initiative through North Lanarkshire Partnership and it is encouraging to hear from the officers that it is already proving successful.

Stop and Talk will make a positive difference for our communities
Cllr Jim McCabe
North Lanarkshire Council

"We know from talking to residents that community safety is one of their top priorities. So by taking the time to get out and about and address the issues that matter to local people, Stop and Talk will make a positive difference for our communities."

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has also announced the names of five teenagers from North Lanarkshire who have been selected to take part in its fire cadet apprenticeship programme.

The four boys and one girl, aged between 16 and 18, will work towards an SVQ qualification and then have the opportunity to go on and train to become full-time firefighters.

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