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Firefighter recruits complete first course at new training centre

Group photo of recruits, instructors and family and pass out ceremonyFor the first time, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has been able to host its own wholetime (full time) firefighter initial training course thanks to its new Training Centre in Huntingdon.

The group of six firefighters began training in January and have completed all of their course modules at the new training centre. To celebrate their achievement, families of six new recruits were invited to watch them pass out having successfully completed the course.

Until now, wholetime firefighters attended other facilities around the country for their initial training, as the former training centre site was not a suitable venue, nor did it have all the necessary facilities.

The training centre moved to the new site on Percy Road last year, when the fire station relocated. The multi-million-pound investment in facilities includes multi-level buildings and containers for live fire burns to give firefighters a wholly realistic training experience. There is also a large road traffic collision compound and facilities to replicate water filled ditches for practicing rescues. The site was officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in November.

Deputy Chief Executive Matthew Warren said: “This is a fantastic milestone for our training team and the Service as a whole. In our 50th year we are very proud to celebrate our first in-house trained cohort of wholetime firefighters.

“The investment in our state-of-the-art facility allows us to spend more time with our recruits, as we save many hours travelling out of county. Not only does this allow the recruits to spend more time on the incident ground practicing their techniques, but it also means they are not away from their families for weeks at a time.”

Before heading to their stations to begin their careers, the group showed off the skills and techniques they have been learning at a passing out ceremony in front of their families and senior fire officers. This consisted of demonstrating tackling a house fire, with a casualty rescue, followed by a road traffic collision drill where two casualties were freed from their vehicles.

Following the ceremony, the group then got together with some of their instructors to take on a charity challenge to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Donning full firefighting PPE and breathing apparatus, they walked the 12-kilometer Kinder Scout route of the Peak District, raising more than £900. They’re still taking donations via their Just Giving page.

Among the areas the group covered on the course were water rescue, working at height, animal rescue and road traffic collision handling. They were also able to learn and practice tackling fires and rescues in the various purpose built buildings, with controlled fire burns now being possible.

Matthew added: “The expansive site provides far more opportunity to provide the necessary training to ensure all our firefighters are competent in the variety of skills needed for the role and the many different incidents they could be called to. The ability to hold our own fire behaviour training courses offers our staff so much more flexibility. We previously had to rely on external facilities that were able to offer live fire burns, which not only carried significant costs but also ate into the vital training time for the recruits.

“It was a proud moment to attend a pass out parade at our own venue. The new recruits did an excellent job on the day demonstrating everything they had learned and it was fantastic to see that teamwork extend to a charity walk they organised themselves to mark the end of their time together as a cohort before joining their new watches. I congratulate them on that achievement as well as passing their initial training and wish them a very successful career with us.”

The new recruits will now join their stations and start responding to emergencies.

  • Matt Hayden - Cambridge
  • Tyler Reed - Dogsthorpe
  • Marc Koteczky - Cambridge
  • Matt Bedford - Dogsthorpe
  • Tom Bartlett - Stanground
  • Kyran Yorke - Ely