Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is proud to welcome a new group of whole-time firefighters - the first recruited in over 10 years.
Twenty two men and women, chosen from over 5,000 applicants, have now been assigned to fire stations after a range of assessments including: situational awareness, problem solving, written, numerical, psychometric and physical testing before being interviewed and selected to join KFRS’ recruit course 180.
They underwent a 15 week intensive training course where they learned about the challenges, techniques and risks faced by today’s fire service and the skills and knowledge they will need to deal with the wide range of emergency incidents that firefighters respond to.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service followed its newest recruits throughout their rigorous training schedule, which started last September, creating a film of their journey to become trainee firefighters. The course covered knowledge, skills and understanding of:
Fire service fire engines and associated equipment including ladders, hoses, water supplies and hydrants
Working safely at height and in confined spaces
The use of breathing apparatus
Dealing with road traffic crashes
Training in hazardous materials
First aid and CPR
Having experienced a range of realistic scenarios to prepare them, the recruits successfully passed their final assessments and showcased their newly honed skills at their passing out parade, where they were congratulated by family and friends.
The new recruits have joined fire stations around Kent and Medway this month and are now responding to 999 calls and helping to keep people safe.
Find out more about the new trainee firefighters in your area:
KFRS Chief Executive, Ann Millington said: “I’d like to congratulate our new trainee firefighters on passing their initial training. They have chosen to dedicate their lives to working for the people of our county and we know throughout their careers they will face very real challenges that will test them as people.
"However we know that because of their courage, compassion and skills they will be involved in life-saving missions that will bring great job satisfaction and pride.
"We thank them for joining KFRS and wish them the very best in their career. It is also very important to thank their families, as they too will very much be supporting our firefighters throughout their time with us."
For 27 year-old Emily Say becoming a firefighter was a job she dreamt about while still at school. Emily explained: “After leaving school, I went to university got a degree and worked in the city as a change analyst. But, I always knew my heart belonged somewhere else, where I can come home from work knowing I’ve made a difference.
“Whether fighting a fire or keeping people safe by fitting a smoke alarm, I’m so excited to be able to help the people of Kent and Medway. It’s a dream come true.”
Nathan O’Donnell, a 24 year-old freelance copywriter said: “While working as a writer I found each day was more or less the same. I wanted to work in a job where I could make a difference to people’s lives, be part of a team and have a real sense of purpose and pride in what I did.
“When KFRS advertised, I knew I’d always regret it if I didn’t apply. I put as much effort into every stage of the recruitment process and haven’t looked back since.”
The recruits have now all been assigned to fire stations, but their training and development doesn’t stop here. They now enter a two-year development phase, during which time they will build on the core skills they attained during their initial training and will learn more about a wide range of incidents they may have to attend such as chemical spills, flooding and water rescue as well as delivering life-saving medical care and sharing vital safety advice.
KFRS has produced a special film showcasing the new recruits during their training and at their recent passing out parade, which was attended by family and friends, some of whom talk about their pride watching their loved ones at the ceremony.
Parents of 32 year-old Lora Burkhill who moved down from Merseyside leaving her previous job as a postgraduate researcher to join KFRS said: “We are super super proud of Lora and the fire service. We hadn’t appreciated how much firefighters get involved with behind the scenes and just how much they do. We have utmost respect.”