New recruits kick start their firefighting careers

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has welcomed a group of seven new recruits to join stations around the county.

The new faces will soon be seen riding in the back of fire engines as they begin their operational careers with the Service in the coming weeks. This follows them completing an intensive 11-week training course in Cardiff, delivered by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The course put the new recruits through their paces, learning how to deal with an array of emergency situations including fires, rescues from water and road traffic collisions. Their training culminated with a demonstration and pass out parade at Cardiff Gate, in front of their families and senior officers.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland, who was in attendance at the pass out parade, said: “I am pleased to be able to welcome the latest group of recruits to the Service. Mastering the wide range of basic skills required to be an operational firefighter has no doubt been a great challenge over the last eleven weeks.

“Much of the training so far has been focussed on preparing to respond to operational emergency situations, which requires a great deal of preparation. As modern day firefighters, the group must also get to grips with working proactively in the community, helping to educate residents and raise awareness of the dangers of fire.

“Our work in the community is crucially important as we often encounter some of the most vulnerable people in society. This role these new recruits will be fulfilling when they start on their watches is equally as vital and rewarding as our response work, as it is proven to reduce societal risk of deaths and injuries in fires and other emergencies.

“We wish this cohort of firefighters the best of luck and hope they enjoy helping us to make Cambridgeshire a safer place.”

Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority Kevin Reynolds, also present at the ceremony, added: “With more than 800,000 residents to serve across the county, our firefighters have a challenging job but one that is extremely rewarding. The group have all worked extremely hard to complete the training course and, having been there myself, I know they will be very keen to get started on their watches.

“The people of Cambridgeshire are at the centre of everything we do and we look forward to welcoming these new recruits on this journey. Together, we really can make Cambridgeshire a safer place to be.

“We thank South Wales Fire and Rescue Service for putting our newest recruits through their paces in the first steps of their careers as firefighters.”

The new recruits are:

Cambridge Fire Station

Ali Thompson (33). Ali is a father of three and previously had his own window cleaning business. He lives in Sutton and was an on-call firefighter at Sutton Fire Station.

Callum Hodgkin (23). Callum has been with the Service for a couple of years already, having been an on-call firefighter at Manea and Whittlesey. He has previously worked in bars and restaurants.

Mark Harris (34). Mark joins the Service having previously worked in transport logistics.

Dogsthorpe Fire Station:

Ryan Day (20). Ryan is a former youth worker and volunteer, working with the Girton Youth Project and helping adults with disabilities at the YMCA.

Huntingdon Fire Station:

Dale Gibson (22). Dale previously worked in lettings for the US military, ensuring soldiers and their families were housed while also arranging relocations.

Stanground Fire Station:

Phil Taylor (36). Phil has moved from Edinburgh where he worked in adult social care with vulnerable adults. Phil has an 18 month old son and follows in his father’s footsteps becoming a firefighter.

Wisbech Fire Station:

Rob Woodcock (32). Rob arrives having been a special constable with the police for four years. He also has a background in television production having worked as a camera operator for Al Jazeera. Rob, a father to a one year old daughter, was also an on-call firefighter at Whittlesey.