An official passing out parade to welcome ten new wholetime firefighters to Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) took place at Rochester Fire Station. Attended by family and friends of the trainees, the occasion was held to welcome the firefighters and showcase their newly honed skills. Chosen from over 5,000 applicants, the trainees have just completed 15 weeks of intense training designed to equip them with the necessary skills and techniques required to become a firefighter. In order to reach this stage, the trainees underwent a number of comprehensive selection assessments, including situational awareness, problem solving and physical testing. The individuals, who are all part of the last cohort from the 2017 recruitment drive, were then interviewed before being selected to join KFRS’ trainee course 182. fire engine equipment The recruits successfully passed their final assessments and were able to showcase their skills The training that followed included intensive courses around the daily challenges and risks faced by today’s fire service when responding to a wide range of emergency incidents. This included, but was not limited to, learning how to use fire engine equipment in a wide range of emergency scenarios, working safely at height and in confined spaces, learning firefighting techniques, training in hazardous materials and dealing with road traffic collisions. After being tested against a range of realistic scenarios to help them prepare them for the life of a firefighter, the recruits successfully passed their final assessments and were able to showcase their skills at the passing out parade in the form of a road traffic collision demonstration, drill and firefighting display. The trainees will be placed at their respective fire stations in January and will soon be actively responding to 999 incidents around the county. honing and building core skills Nikki Escudier, Lead Training Coach, said: “It’s been a fantastic few months training the group. They have all worked so hard, and my fellow training coaches and I feel honored to have been part of this journey. The trainees have bonded brilliantly as a team but are looking forward to starting work at their own stations in January. It’s been an absolute pleasure training them – well done, trainee course 182!” But the training doesn’t stop here, as the trainees have now entered a two-year development phase. During this time, they will be honing and building on core skills already attained during training. Naumaan Zuberi, a trainee firefighter who will be based at Thames-side, described his time so far as an “unforgettable experience”. potentially saving lives I could potentially be saving someone’s life every time I put on the uniform “Thank you to my fellow recruits, the training coaches and staff who have made this course an unforgettable and once in a lifetime experience – from all of the drills and assessments, to the support and encouragement, it has been an incredible journey that I look forward to continuing.” North McKenzie, who will be based at Dartford, said, “Out of everything I have ever done in life, this is what I’m most proud of. There will be no better feeling than knowing that I could potentially be saving someone’s life every time I put on the uniform, and I hope to have a long, enjoyable career within the service.” life-saving missions KFRS Chief Executive, Ann Millington also said: “I’d like to pass on a huge congratulation to our new trainee firefighters for passing their initial training. They’ve done incredibly well over the last four months and I’m sure are now all looking forward to joining crews at wholetime stations in West and Mid-Kent." "Not only have the trainees chosen a career dedicated to keeping the people of Kent safe, but they will most likely be involved in huge life-saving missions in the future. I wish them all the very best in their future career with Kent Fire and Rescue Service.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is proud to welcome a new group of whole-time firefighters to a number of Kent stations this month. Chosen from over 5,000 applicants, the group of 24 men and women have now officially joined fire crews at a number of stations around the county. An official passing out parade to mark the occasion for recruit course 181 was recently held at Rochester Fire Station, and was attended by the firefighters’ family and friends. 16-Week intensive training course This intensive training course included learning how to use fire engine equipment in a wide range of emergency scenariosIn order to reach this stage, the trainees first underwent a range of challenging assessments including situational awareness, problem solving, numerical, written, psychometric and physical testing. The individuals were then interviewed before being selected to join KFRS’ recruit course 181. What followed was a 16-week intensive training course designed to equip the group with the necessary skills and techniques required to become a firefighter. The trainees were also taught how to deal with the daily challenges and risks faced by today’s fire service when responding to a wide range of emergency incidents. This intensive training course included - but was not limited to – learning how to use fire engine equipment in a wide range of emergency scenarios, working safely at height and in confined spaces, learning firefighting techniques, training in hazardous materials and dealing with road traffic collisions. Showcasing skills at passing out parade The trainees were placed at their respective fire stations and are responding to 999 incidents around the countyAfter experiencing a range of realistic scenarios to help them prepare them for the life of a firefighter (including one real incident in which a group of the new recruits saved a man from drowning), the recruits successfully passed their final assessments and were able to showcase their skills at the recent passing out parade. The trainees were then placed at their respective fire stations this June and are now actively responding to 999 incidents around the county. KFRS Chief Executive, Ann Millington said: “I’d like to congratulate our new trainee firefighters on passing their initial training. They have all displayed great courage, true compassion and skill. Not only have they chosen to dedicate their lives to the people of Kent, but they will also be involved in life-saving missions that will bring them great job satisfaction and pride. I’d like to thank them all for joining KFRS and wish them all the very best in their career.” Helping people and the community Luke Harrison, a trainee firefighter based at Tunbridge Wells, has also described his time at Kent Fire and Rescue Service so far as very “rewarding.” “In the four short months I’ve been part of Kent Fire and Rescue Service so far, the teamwork, trust, camaraderie and passion for the job is on a level I’ve never seen or experienced before,” says Luke. I truly think I’m at the start of one of the best and most rewarding careers out there" “It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination to get here – but when you couple the above with the fact that it’s all for the purpose of helping people and the community, the word ’great’ just doesn’t cut it. I truly think I’m at the start of one of the best and most rewarding careers out there.” Kind and friendly people to work with Jack George, a trainee firefighter at Folkestone says he first joined Kent Fire and Rescue Service to “play a vital role in helping the community.” “Everyone has been so welcoming since I joined the crew at Folkestone. There truly is a great group of people working here – everyone is kind, friendly and great to work with. I very much look forward to seeing my fellow recruits out and about as we start to build a career at Kent Fire and Rescue Service.” But the training doesn’t stop here, as the trainee firefighters have now entered a two-year development phase. During this time, trainee firefighters will be honing and building on core skills already attained during training.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is effective, efficient and looks after its people. Following an independent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the service has been awarded ‘good’ in all three areas in the first review of its kind. And as a result, Kent has emerged as one of the top performing services in the country, of those assessed so far as part of a rolling program to inspect all 45 fire and rescue services in England. During their visit in January this year, inspectors assessed how effectively and efficiently Kent Fire and Rescue Service prevents, protects the public against, and responds to, fires and other emergencies. They also looked at how well the service looks after its staff. Responding to incidents effectively KFRS achieved ‘good’ in the three key areas assessed, and is therefore meeting the high expectations of HMICFRSKFRS achieved ‘good’ in the three key areas assessed, and is therefore meeting the high expectations of HMICFRS. Not only does the report highlight the service’s ability to respond to incidents effectively, and spend public money appropriately, but it also found the service offers ‘excellent wellbeing support’ for staff, noting ‘a culture of trust and empowerment’ with some ‘outstanding’ staff practices. The service has already taken steps to improve areas highlighted by inspectors, such as ensuring local training records are kept up to date, and recruiting more people to its technical fire safety team to increase productivity and achieve auditing targets. Providing good customer service 24/7 Ann Millington, Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This was the first inspection of its kind and a great opportunity to hear from an independent body how we’re performing. I’m pleased and proud that Kent has been graded a ‘good’ fire service, but we can strive for better – it’s part of our DNA. It’s important we continue to improve the services we offer to our communities – because there’s always more to be done. This positive outcome wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of every member of our team" “This positive outcome wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of every member of our team. I am thankful to have such a strong and passionate workforce, made up of people who genuinely care about each other, keeping our customers safe and providing a good service 24/7. “Thanks also goes to HMICFRS’ inspectors, whose recommendations we welcome and we have started implementing changes in a majority of suggested areas since the visit in January.” Result of firefighters’ hard work Nick Chard, Chairman of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “I’m very pleased to hear that Kent Fire and Rescue Service is among the top performing fire services in the country following its ‘good’ inspection. This comes as a result of hard work and dedication from firefighters and officers, who together provide the community with a fire and rescue service to be proud of.” HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Zoë Billingham said: “I am pleased that we have rated Kent Fire and Rescue Service as ‘good’ across all three areas of our inspection. This is a modern and innovative fire service that is prepared to find new ways of doing things. Many other fire and rescue services could learn from the example it sets. Responding to fires and other emergencies The service performs well in one of its primary duties: responding to fires and other emergencies"“The service performs well in one of its primary duties: responding to fires and other emergencies. We found good collaboration with other local emergency services, including the ambulance service and the police, which improves the service given to the people of Kent. “We were very impressed with how Kent Fire and Rescue Service manages and looks after its people; some of the practice we found is outstanding. We were struck by the positive relationship between staff and senior leadership, which encourages direct contact and a culture of trust and empowerment. “I look forward to continuing to see strong performance from Kent Fire and Rescue Service in future inspections.”
Former Watch Manager Malcolm Cowie, believed to be the UK’s longest serving operational whole-time firefighter, has been recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List. The 65-year-old, who hung up his helmet with Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) last year after joining at 16 and dedicating nearly 50 years of his life to the service, has received the Queen's Fire Service Medal. KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Malcolm and is very well deserved indeed. Throughout his career, Malcolm was dedicated, incredibly hardworking and crucial in the setting up of Kent’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team – one of the UK’s first fully operational teams able to respond to a wide range of major and catastrophic incidents. “Congratulations Malcolm on receiving the Queen’s Fire Service Medal – you really do deserve it.” Attended thousands of rescue incidents Over his extensive career, Malcolm attended thousands of incidents ranging from small fires and simple rescues to devastating explosions and international aid missions. Living in Deal, Malcolm was based at his local fire station for large sections of his career, but his role saw him posted to a number of different stations around the county, as well as abroad as part of his specialist UK International Search and Rescue work. Over the years, Malcolm’s dedication to the fire service didn’t go unrecognized. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Kent medal – a rare accolade recognizing outstanding service and commitment to Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) and the wider Kent community. When Malcolm was asked to describe his time within the fire service he said: “Enjoyable, rewarding and not least, fun.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is one of two fire services in the UK now carrying escape hoods to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The introduction of the new kit comes as a result of collaborative working with London Fire Brigade, who’ve also issued the hoods to their crews. The hoods have a filter which provide up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people. Rescuing elderly people using hoods Firefighters will be able to offer people a hood to wear while they are being rescued and they will also be used to protect those who aren’t able to escape easily, such as the elderly or wheelchair users. All of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s whole-time and on-call fire engines started carrying smoke hoods All of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s whole-time and on-call fire engines started carrying smoke hoods on Monday, 11 February, and additional hoods have also been supplied to support vehicles. The introduction of the hoods followed extensive research and testing, including a redesign of the pouch to enable it to fit better with KFRS’ breathing apparatus sets. Important tool to protect people KFRS Firefighting Tactics Manager Phil Bailey said: “The hoods are now being carried on all of our front-line fire engines and they’re another important tool that crews can use to help protect those they are assisting at incidents. This is another step forward for Kent Fire and Rescue Service in its mission to provide the most effective customer focused response possible.” KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: “We’re really pleased to have worked in partnership with our colleagues at London Fire Brigade, as well as the Fire Brigades Union, to progress this project and introduce smoke hoods as a standard part of the kit our crews carry. Having the hoods on our fire engines further enhances our ability to look after our customers and help keep them safe. Services across the UK have been following progress in this project and will be adopting this excellent practice.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is proud to welcome a new group of whole-time firefighters - the first recruited in over 10 years. New firefighter recruits 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. Kent Fire and Rescue Service followed its newest recruits throughout their rigorous training schedule 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. Intense firefighters training course 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 Firefighting techniques 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 Physical fitness Emergency rescue training 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. Firefighting training I’d like to congratulate our new trainee firefighters on passing their initial training" 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." Firefighters safety 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.” He continues, “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.” KFRS training services 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.” KFRS has produced a special film showcasing the new recruits during their training and at their recent passing out parade Fire Station service 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. Fire safety 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.”