More than 200 people joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service for its annual passing out parade at Theatre Severn last night. (Monday, November 11)
The ‘Celebration of Success’ recognises the achievements of firefighters alongside existing staff and also employers who support part-time firefighters – known as on-call staff.
Having passed an initial 20-week training course, 19 individuals received awards to become ‘development’ firefighters, joining more than 400 other colleagues.
In addition, over 20 development firefighters completed the next phase of training, lasting three-years and received awards to become ‘competent’ firefighters.
Existing members of staff were also recognised for achievements along with a final group including local businesses, that support on-call firefighters by allowing them to respond to emergency calls during working hours.
The newest recruits received special awards in three categories, the ‘Instructors’ award for most improved candidates went to Courtney Reynolds, Philip Barnes and Rachael Thomas, a ‘Top Student’ award known as the 'Silver Axe' for highest exam scores was handed out to Lee Hilton, Samuel Knight and Andrew Bradbury and new for 2019, the ‘Student’s Choice’ award.
This award was introduced for candidates that best demonstrate the qualities of firefighters including teamwork, leadership and compassion and was presented to Daniel Jenks, Luke Gears and Jack Creed.
Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton said: “As Chief Fire Officer, my aim is to provide a professional, efficient and effective fire and rescue service that puts Shropshire’s safety first.
“While front line staff earn respect from the community for their commitment, we also recognise the cooperation and commitment of employers and families and are grateful to you.
“By allowing employees to respond to emergencies during the working day, you are contributing to the effectiveness of our very special Service and ultimately the safety of our community.
"We encourage a culture where everyone can speak and be listened to and pride ourselves on being an incredibly diverse family."
The biggest round of applause of the evening was for one of the Service's youngest supporters. Ten-year-old Sam Henson of Much Wenlock Primary School raised more than £500 for the Fire Fighter's Charity and was inspired by his teaching assistant, also a retained firefighter Stephanie Tench.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is always looking for retained on-call firefighters who must live or work within five minutes of a station, be available for a set number of hours each week to answer 999 calls.
The brigade provides full training, support, promotion opportunities and excellent pay. Candidates must pass physical and written tests and ideally have good communication skills and enjoy working in a team.
They are a crucial part of the Fire Service, are all ages and come from all walks of life. If you, or someone you know is up for a new challenge then visit https://oncallfire.uk/ for more details and start your journey today.