New recruits join the front line
The new recruits with training managers
24 April 2018
When most people think of the fire service, they picture the firefighters at the sharp end, tackling fires and saving lives.
Before they can spring into action however, there are highly skilled control room operators handling calls from the public, when they are at their most distressed.
Whether their house is burning down, someone needs rescuing from water or they’ve witnessed a tragedy – control personnel have a tough job, balancing compassion with fact finding, and deploying the right fire engines, specialist kit and officers to the scene.
Eight new KFRS control room operators have just completed an intense 13-week training course, and on Friday, 20 April, they attended their formal passing out ceremony at KFRS head quarters in Tovil, Maidstone.
Their friends and family proudly looked on as KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington welcomed them to the service and congratulated them on their hard work.
She said: “Our control room operators are the front line of the front line. They are the first to command an incident, it’s an incredibly tough role and they deal with some very difficult situations.
“All of our new recruits passed their final assessment with flying colours and we’re so proud of them. Their training is now complete but this is only the start, there’s so much more learning to come, it never ends.”
One of the new recruits, Clare Gordon, 34, from Strood, dealt with a 999 call from a very distressed Kent resident very shortly after passing her training. Listen to the conversation below - the caller's voice has been changed to protect their identity.
Clare said: “I was very nervous as it was one of my first calls, but I put my training into practice, stayed calm and set about finding the facts and making sure the person on the line was safe. That was my main concern as they were very distressed, and I needed them to leave the property as a priority.
"I suppose you could say I was a bit like a swan – calm and collected on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath.”
All of the recruits are now ready to be on the front line for Kent Fire and Rescue Service - being their best, when those they are helping are facing some of the worst situations.