Appeal for people to join 999 services

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Louise McKenzie

An appeal has gone out for more women and people from ethnic minorities to join the emergency services in Shropshire.

An open day will be held on February 11 at Telford College of Arts and Technology from 3pm to 8pm to encourage these "under represented" groups to find out about a career in the police, fire and ambulance.

"There have always been women and people from ethnic minorities in all three emergency services but there are not enough to truly represent the public who we all serve. We want to let people know that there are very good careers open to them in our services," said Louise McKenzie, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"Recruitment events such as this remain vital to ensure that we encourage the best possible applicants from the many diverse communities that we serve," said Balbinder Kular-Taylor, from West Mercia Constabulary's Positive Action Team.

A police officer, firefighter and paramedic will make two ten minute presentations at the open day at 4pm and 6.30pm to give careers information to college students and members of the public.

The county fire service has four wholetime fire stations at Telford, Wellington, Tweedale and Shrewsbury and 22 fire stations run by highly trained retained firefighters who are able to leave their employment once the alarm is raised to tackle an emergency.

Firefighters undergo a wide range of activities such as community fire safety education and fire prevention which has helped to reduce the number of house fires across the county. Highly skilled to rescue people from water, fire and road crashes, they are also equipped to deal with search and rescues from collapsed buildings and trained to deal with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

"Being a firefighter today is much more than just putting out fires. Community Fire Safety, educating schoolchildren, water rescues, first aid and learning how to use a wide range of sophisticated equipment is just part of the knowledge of a firefighter," said Louise.

Michelle Brotherton, (West Midlands Ambulance Service) Divisional Commander Shropshire, said they want to increase public awareness about the role of the paramedic, the skills they now have and the drugs they can use.

"It's a far cry from the old days when the ambulance service was more of a patient delivery service, taking people to hospital."

New recruits into the ambulance service can join up as an Emergency Care Assistant and work their way up or apply for a university paramedic degree course.

Benefits of joining West Mercia Constabulary include being part of a top performing force, experiencing rural and urban policing, excellent training and flexible working. Information on the range of jobs in the Police Service will be available.

"The Positive Action Team will also be on hand to provide guidance on the competency based application process that applies to all new applicants, while serving PCs and CSOs will also be present to share their experiences with any potential applicants.

"West Mercia Constabulary prides itself on meeting its priorities of Tackling Crime, Protecting the Public, Promoting Community Safety and Improving Public Satisfaction and Confidence.

The event will also give people the opportunity to find out about other jobs within each of the services such as IT, Human Resources, Administration and Finance.

3rd February, 2009