The first firefighters recruit course at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in almost a decade draws to an end this week. After 15 weeks of intensive training, Recruit Course 49/18 will close this Friday.

The 23 recruits had their Passing out Parade which took place on Wednesday 13 February. The Parade is a long standing fire service tradition allowing the successful recruits the opportunity to showcase a small selection of their new skills. This includes a number of fire ground scenarios and is followed by a presentation of certificates and course awards.

Almost 5,000 aspiring firefighters applied in the first recruitment drive since 2010.

Preventing emergencies and accidents

They play an integral role in our community to help prevent emergencies and accidents occurring in the first place"TWFRS, Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther said: “Today, we have celebrated the transformation of 23 people into elite firefighters. Our firefighters don’t just fight fires and rescue people from road traffic collisions, they play an integral role in our community to help prevent emergencies and accidents occurring in the first place. They also help to educate children on the risks from fire, water and roads.

Throughout the past 14 weeks our recruits have been put through their paces and been trained at the highest level and their determination and hard work has paid off. It’s a proud day not only for the Service but the recruits, the trainers and of course their families who have supported them every step of the way. For the 23 who have had their passing out parade – this is not the end but the beginning.

Developing firefighting skills

The cohort of 23 have all been given a job within TWFRS.

Cllr Barry Curran, Chair of the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority added: “Huge congratulations to the recruits. It was fantastic to be able to see them put into practice what they have learnt over the past 14 weeks during their drill displays this afternoon. I wish them the very best as they continue to learn and develop their firefighting skills within Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

In front of friends, family and dignitaries, the 23 recruits demonstrated their skills in three scenarios

In front of friends, family and dignitaries, the 23 demonstrated their skills in three scenarios: a house fire showing a variety of firefighting and rescue techniques; an aircraft incident involving the handling of a crashed light aircraft rescue and a road traffic collision utilizing specialist rescue equipment used at road traffic collisions.

Awards presented to the recruits

Following the demonstrations the recruits were presented with awards. The Dan McCormack trophy was awarded to Annabel Crowther and is awarded to the student with the best theoretical results during the course.

Lee Rukin received the George Maddox trophy which is awarded to the recruit receiving the highest theoretical and practical Breathing Apparatus (BA) marks. George Maddox, a former BA instructor and Station Officer, is remembered for his high standards and extensive knowledge in all BA related areas.

The Silver Axe award is presented to the recruit with the best theoretical and practical results throughout the course across all disciplines and was also awarded to Lee Rukin. Daniel Claridge was awarded the Dusty Ashman Trophy which is presented to the recruit, who in the opinion of their fellow course members, has made the greatest overall contribution during the 15 weeks of training to become the ‘recruit’s recruit’.

Next stage of training begins

The final day of the course is Friday 15 February and following this, the 23 recruits will join their new watches and stations across the Service to start the next stage of their training and development.

The stations they will be deployed to include: Newcastle Central, Byker, Tynemouth, South Shields, Sunderland Central, Farringdon and Gateshead.

Recruits and station:

3 new firefighters at Newcastle Central

4 new firefighters at Byker

4 new firefighters at Tynemouth

2 new firefighters at South Shields

3 new firefighters at Sunderland Central

3 new firefighters at Farringdon

4 new firefighters at Gateshead

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