LIFESAVING firefighters are giving up their free time to keep residents safe on the roads.

Casualty reduction teams are teaching bikers, students and the public about road safety.

Andy Stroulger, road traffic collision manager for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, heads up the teams.

He explained fire crews are often sent to horrific crashes.

His volunteers, many of whom have cut out dead or seriously injured people from crash wreckage, want to help people before they are hurt.

One of the schemes is called Firebike to help train motorcyclists.

Mr Stroulger said: “They are one per cent of traffic but involved in 26 per cent of road traffic collisions making them the highest risk group.

“They are often difficult to engage with but we held 100 events last year.

“There are eight members of the team, all firefighters, who volunteer at the events which have become incredibly successful.”

All are bikers themselves, trained to the highest standard in riding and instruction, and their Better Biking courses and skills training saves lives.

An off-shoot of this is the Moped Scooter Safety Course, and a variety of other targeted courses across Essex.