On call recruits join Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

The new recruits
The new recruits

New on call firefighters have been recruited to work in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

Seven new recruits have joined the ranks of Cambridgeshire’s on-call firefighters and celebrated nearly three months of intense training with a pass out parade over the weekend in front of proud family members.

The latest batch of on-call recruits passed out on Sunday (July 16) after eleven weeks of training at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Training Centre in Huntingdon.

All of them have had to fit training in around their regular day jobs, taking holiday to attend training sessions during the day as well as attending evening and weekend sessions.

On-call recruits are trained in exactly the same skills as their wholetime counterparts, including firefighting skills and the use of breathing apparatus.

Wisbech Fire Station gains Barry Webb, 34, who works a full-time night lead manager for Tesco and lists swimming and football as his hobbies. Whittlesey Fire Station gains Jamie Cook, 28, an ice rink manager who lists ice hockey as his interest. Stephen Wheatley, 28, joints Thorney Fire Station. The motorcycle aftersales supervisor lists motocross and enduro racing as his interests; Manea Fire Station is joined by Ashley Bullman, 21, a fork truck operative who enjoys kickboxing in his spare time.

St Ives Fire Station gains two new on-call firefighters – Ben Johnson, 19, who lists sport as his main interest and Jodie Roberts-Dear, 35, a school kitchen assistant who lists family and friends as her interests. Ely Fire Station gains Naomi Hudson, 30, who works in a bespoke furniture business and lists exercising and baking as her interests. One recruit, James Parker, 41, will remain with the training centre to complete his BA and ladder training before joining Ely Fire Station. A second recruit, James Digger, 18, passed out with the other recruits but has resigned due to work commitments.

Group Commander Gary Mitchley, head of on-call at CFRS, presented the recruits with their certificates at yesterday’s pass-out parade in front of proud family members.

He said: “It is great to see seven new on-call recruits passing out and joining their respective stations to serve their communities as on-call firefighters. They and their families should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. Just think 11 weeks ago they walked into our training centre here at Huntingdon and have worked hard over weekdays, evenings and weekends pushing themselves to learn new skills in a range of challenging environments to achieve the standards required to be able to ride a fire engine and respond to a wide range of emergencies when our public need us.

“Recent tragic events have significantly raised the profile of firefighters and what a fantastic job they do. CFRS needs members of our communities willing to give their time to commit to becoming on-call firefighters. We have 24 stations across the county that are on-call and we are always looking for the right people to be part of a great team so if you feel being an on-call firefighter is for you, why not look into joining us.”

Station Commander Matt Murdoch, from Training Centre, said: “The on-call pass out parade is a way for everyone to mark all of the hard work that has gone into the past few months, not just from the on-call recruits themselves but also all of our instructors here at training centre.”

On-call firefighters are trained professionals who respond to emergencies in their communities alongside their day-to-day lives. They may be at home, work or out and about when they receive a pager alert calling them to an incident. Some new recruits have other jobs and respond to 999 emergencies while they are at work thanks to the support of local employers, who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents. There are also benefits to the employer and employee as on-call firefighters receive new skills and training which they may be able to use in their full time jobs as well.

On-call firefighters have to be aged 18 and over, have a good level of all-round fitness and live or work within five minutes travelling time of an on-call fire station.

To find out more about becoming an on-call firefighter visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk