The first newly-trained full-time firefighters to join Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service in nine years have been welcomed to the service with a passing out parade in Corby.
The 10 newcomers underwent 12 weeks of training, including a two-month residential course at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire, learning how to respond to a wide range of fires and other emergency scenarios, including road crashes, chemical incidents, water rescues and medical response.
Chief fire officer Darren Dovey said: “I am very proud to welcome our new recruits into the fire service family.
“I know how hard they have worked, firstly to be selected from the 800 candidates that applied, and then to complete the arduous 12-week basic training that followed.
“They are now ready to join their stations and start performing their duty to the public and I am confident they will do so in a way that upholds the high standards of the service.”
More than 800 people applied to join the service when recruitment opened earlier this year, with applications whittled down to select 14 new recruits.
Of these, four were already on-call firefighters and were able to move straight into full-time roles.
In a passing out ceremony at Corby Fire Station on Saturday, November 25, the new recruits gave a practical demonstration and presentation on their new skills before more than 70 guests, including proud family and friends.
Watch manager and lead training instructor Alastair Ferguson said: “Individually and as a team they have been pushed and tested both mentally and physically.
“I have watched a team of 10 individuals come together for the first time in a new role, they have worked extremely hard to overcome all challenges placed before them and have excelled as a group.
“Myself and the instructional staff now stand back and release a capable professional team of firefighters into the public domain, confident they can deal with the challenges of the modern-day firefighter.”
Achievement certificates were then presented by Mr Dovey before recruits ceremonially exchanged their training epaulettes for full service ones.
Three awards were also handed out to recognise outstanding performance in a range of areas.
Firefighter Amy Gamble was awarded the Silver Axe award, decided upon by instructional staff and presented to the top recruit in a training group.
She also received the Recruits’ Recruit Award, voted for anonymously by the recruits to recognise the best team player in the group.
Fellow new recruit Ben Jordan was give the newly-introduced Breathing Apparatus Award, recognising outstanding physical and mental performance while wearing breathing apparatus in a wide range of firefighting and rescue scenarios.
The new recruits will join their new watches early next month, at full-time fire stations including Rushden, Kettering, Daventry, Moulton and Corby.
The nine-year period since the last round of full-time recruitment has seen much change in a firefighter’s training, and the new recruits are the first in NFRS to have gone through a recruitment process that reflects all the challenges of the modern role.
Today’s demands on fire and rescue services mean firefighters need all of the traditional skills to deal with the operational role, but must also have great communication skills so they can deliver the prevention messages that reduce the risk of people being involved in an emergency in the first place.
While the full-time recruitment window for NFRS is currently closed, recruitment for on-call firefighters is ongoing.
Details on all vacancies and how to apply can be found at http://www.northantsfire.gov.uk.