Monday, 19 January 2015

New firefighters pass out to serve Cambridgeshire communities

New faces can be seen riding in the back of fire engines across the county as Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) welcomes a group of new firefighters into its ranks.

Ten new recruits began their operational careers with the Service at the start of the month (January) following an intensive 10-week training course in Cardiff, delivered by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg said: "We are thrilled to welcome this group of new firefighters to CFRS to begin what is hopefully a great career with the fire service.

"Being a firefighter in a modern fire and rescue service is not about being the strongest, the biggest or the bravest anymore. With such a small percentage of crews' time spent at operational jobs, the role of a firefighter is about serving the community in so many different ways. We wish this cohort of firefighters the best of luck and hope they enjoy helping us to protect the public of Cambridgeshire."

The new recruits are:

Dogsthorpe Fire Station:

Kevin Gilbert (28), of Whittlesey, was most recently a firefighter at Marshall's Airport in Cambridge before joining the wholetime service in Cambridgeshire. Prior to this, he has also worked as a firefighter in the RAF and in Afghanistan. FF Gilbert is also an on-call firefighter in Whittlesey.

Jason Keal (27), of Market Deeping, left a career in leisure management to join the fire service. He has also been an on-call firefighter in Market Deeping more than three years.

Cambridge Fire Station:

Sarah Lamming (26), of Peterborough, worked for the Environment Agency in flood risk management before successfully joining wholetime. She also has experience as an on-call firefighter in Cottenham.

James Pearce (24) of Saffron Walden, previously worked for a delivery company based at Stansted Airport. He was also an on-call firefighter in Essex before joining the wholetime service in Cambridgeshire.

Huntingdon Fire Station:

Ross Turner (25), of Cottenham, used to work for a sound and audio technology firm in Cambridge. He has also been an on-call firefighter in Cottenham for 18 months.

John Woolfe (27), of St Neots, left his old life as an IT systems engineer to join the wholetime service. He is also an on-call firefighter at St Neots.

Andy Ellis (28), of Hampton, Peterborough, joins the Service from a business background working at an engineering company.

St Neots Fire Station:

Adam Hanney (23), of Ketttering, was previously a manager at Tesco.

Wisbech Fire Station:

Jasper Vidot (27), of Wisbech, used to work in hospitality management and was an on-call firefighter in Huntingdon.

Callum Faint, Group Commander responsible for training, said: "These are the first wholetime firefighters to be recruited by CFRS in eight years and the selection process was tough. We have some brilliant people who all have different strengths, which this group emphasised when they successfully completed the intensive training course in Cardiff. We now look forward to supporting them while they grow and develop not just as firefighters but also as people, in their careers."

Ian Greenman, Head of Training and Development at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, added: "We have been working closely with our colleagues at CFRS to deliver an initial trainee course, in partnership with Babcock International, for 10 firefighters from their Service at its Training Centre at our Cardiff Gate training facility.

"The trainees undertook a 10-week course which included risk critical training that a modern firefighter needs to maintain their own safety and equip them with the necessary skills to meet the challenges they will face serving and protecting their communities. We also trained nine firefighters from our own area as part of the same course, which proved to be a successful joint training initiative and all trainees appeared to benefit from this joint approach."

The Service will be recruiting for wholetime firefighters again, with the recruitment process starting on February 21. Log on to to find out more.