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
Byker firefighters have been commended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther for their lifesaving actions on the River Tyne. Crews were dispatched to the quayside at around 5am on Sunday May 5 after receiving reports of a woman threatening to jump from the Tyne Bridge. During their journey to the River Tyne, they received an update confirming that she had jumped into the water. Locating woman using thermal imaging camera When the crews arrived at the pontoon, Crew Manager Steven Burns used a thermal imaging camera to locate the semi-conscious woman, who was clearly shocked and struggling to stay afloat. As the fire boat was not yet mobile and the casualty was being pulled downstream by the tide, Crew Manager Burns instructed Firefighter Rob Rodgerson to enter the water. It was a spilt second decision that only had one outcome, this is part of my job and I wouldn’t hesitate in doing it again"Attached to a floating safety line, Firefighter Rodgerson swam to the woman in the centre of the river. He was then able to keep her afloat, calming and reassuring her until crews were able to pull them back to shore. Firefighter Rodgerson explained: “It was a spilt second decision that only had one outcome, this is part of my job and I wouldn’t hesitate in doing it again. I’m just glad I was there to help.” Continuous assessment of the situation Chief Fire Officer Lowther commented: “This type of water rescue is extremely difficult. To reach the casualty, Firefighter Rodgerson swam around 90m from the pontoon and had to contend with line drag, river current, debris and the cold water. “He placed his trust in his fellow firefighters, whose calm and continuous assessment of the situation enabled them to get the woman out of the water quickly and safely. The whole crew showed great strength, bravery and skill under challenging conditions. They were well prepared thanks to their regular training.”
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published its inspection report on Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS). TWFRS was graded as Good in all three areas inspected. HMICFRS looked at how effectively and efficiently the Service prevents and protects the public from, and responds to, fires and other emergencies. It also examined how well they look after the people. In its summary the HMICFRS stated: “Overall, we commend Tyne and Wear FRS for its performance. This provides a good foundation for improvement in the year ahead.” Grades given on three areas of work HMICFRS graded the Service on three separate areas of work: Effectiveness (our emergency response and services we provide to the public) Good Efficiency (how we manage our finances and how efficient we are) Good People (our culture, training and how we treat our people) Good In particular, HMICFRS highlighted the Service for: Responding to fires – with one of the fastest response times in the country Knowing our communities – we have a good understanding of our local and community risk Protecting the public through fire regulation Providing an efficient service and making good use of our resources Responding to national risks Being good at looking after our people Passionate staff who are proud to serve their community Testament to professionalism and commitment I am pleased that HMICFRS has confirmed that we deliver a good service"TWFRS Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther, commented: “I am pleased that HMICFRS has confirmed that we deliver a good service – one that helps to keep the communities of Tyne and Wear safe. The fact that the Service has been independently recognized as a good service is a testament to the professionalism and commitment of everyone who works for us. “I believe this grading is a fair reflection of our Service and has only been possible because of the teamwork that is evident across our organization. “This is the first time in over a decade that fire and rescue services have been inspected, and it has been a very valuable process. Not only has it confirmed what we do well, but it has helped us highlight areas where we can get better. Improving the Service for staff and public I am very proud of the work they do every day to protect lives and ensure we deliver a professional and effective organization"“We also acknowledge that there are some areas of our Service that require further attention. We have already started to address these areas through our continuous improvement program and we are making strong progress. I am confident we will continue to improve the Service for staff and the public. “Our best assets are our people. I am very proud of the work they do every day to protect lives and ensure we deliver a professional and effective organization.” Delivering good service despite budget cuts Tony Taylor, Tyne and Wear Fire Authority Chair commented: “This is a great – if not remarkable – achievement. Those of us who are close to the Service know it continues to deliver a good – if not great – service to our communities despite disproportionate cuts to our budget of £25million since 2010. “We can only imagine how much better these grades would have been if we had benefited from a fairer funding formula. It’s a great tribute to Chris and everyone who works for the Service that their commitment and dedication to keeping the people of Tyne and Wear safe has received such independent recognition.”
At Annual General Meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority, Councillor Tony Taylor was appointed as the new Chair. Tony has been a Councillor for Washington East in Sunderland since 2014 and is employed locally as a clamp truck driver. Tony has been a member of the Fire Authority since May 2018, and replaces the previous Chair, Barry Curran. Commenting on his appointment, Tony said: “I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the Fire Authority. This is a new era for the fire service – as we await the results of our first inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. This is a welcome step for all fire services. With the support of the HMICFRS we have an inspection regime that will help us to deliver an even better service for our communities.” Other appointments in the fire authority Cllr Nick Forbes was appointed as Vice Chair of the Fire Authority. As well as the appointment of a new Chair, there are some new faces on the Fire Authority. The new members are: Cllr Michael Butler – Sunderland City Council Cllr Alex Samuels – Sunderland City Council Cllr Janet Hunter – North Tyneside M.B.C Cllr Doreen Purvis – South Tyneside M.B.C Protecting communities of Tyne and Wear Chris Lowther, Chief Fire Officer commented: “I am looking forward to working alongside Tony in his new position as Fire Authority Chair. I know that he and our new and existing Fire Authority members will continue to support us in our delivery of a highly effective professional service to protect the communities of Tyne and Wear. “I would also like to thank our out-going Chair, Barry Curran for his contribution and members: Cllrs Bell, Perry, Harrison and Dame Vera Baird for the support they have given us throughout their time as Fire Authority Members.”
Firefighter Adrian Sargent has been presented with a Certificate of Commendation from Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, for his meritorious conduct while under extremely challenging conditions. At around 9.30pm on 29 April 2019, South Shields crews were called to the Wearmouth Bridge after receiving reports of a person threatening to jump. When they arrived, they found the distressed 21-year-old female on the wrong side of the railings. Demonstrating professionalism and bravery This was a first class rescue and the way in which he dealt with a very high pressured situation was exemplary"Firefighter Sargent calmly approached the young woman, reassuring her in an attempt to gain trust. By listening and supporting, he ultimately persuaded her to let him and another firefighter help her back over the barrier. The young woman was then handed safely into the care of our partners, Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance service. CFO, Chris Lowther explained: “Firefighter Sargent demonstrated compassion, professionalism and bravery in the proficient way in which he undertook his duties, reflecting the high standards set by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. This was a first class rescue and the way in which he dealt with a very high pressured situation was exemplary – a very fitting act of bravery on the eve of his 18th anniversary of becoming a firefighter.” Firefighter Sargent was dispatched to the scene as part of the Service’s rope rescue team. The team comprises a specialist crew that are trained in rescuing people and animals from inaccessible places, such as cliffs, bridges and confined spaces.
Earlier today, Firefighter Tommy Richardson was presented with the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service by HRH Prince William at Buckingham Palace. Tommy is a member of the Byker-based Swiftwater Rescue Team who campaigns passionately to reduce drowning incidents. Reducing water-Related deaths When Tommy was named in the 2019 New Year Honors list, Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther commented: “Tommy’s passion and commitment to ensure water safety is high on everyone’s agenda has left no one untouched. From our water safety demonstrations to our work with partners, businesses and like-minded charities he has led the way in trying to reduce water-related deaths. “Both as a firefighter and an educator, Tommy has been tireless in his water safety work and it is a privilege to have him as one of my firefighters. He has every attribute you would want in a firefighter; we and the communities of Tyne and Wear are very proud to have him as one of our own.” From everyone at TWFRS, congratulations to Tommy on this well-deserved honor!
Three North East fire and rescue services (FRS) have all signed a collaboration agreement to increase the opportunities for joint working in the future. County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) will all potentially face similar financial and operational challenges in the future. Previous collaboration projects between the services in recruitment, promotions, mental health support and health and fitness have shown the tangible benefits of what can be achieved when the three organizations work together. Now, they propose to continue to explore greater opportunities for collaborative working going forward by formally signing a collaborative agreement. The three services’ Chief Fire Officers feel there are numerous opportunities which could reduce costs, increase resilience, share knowledge and learning, meaning a more efficient and effective service to the public. The agreement was formally drawn up and signed at TWFRS’ Headquarters in Washington by all three Chiefs. Taking lead for each collaboration areas It makes sense to us all to continue to explore future joint working to enhance the service we provide to our communities"The initial areas which will be explored are Human Resources, Business Fire Safety and Control Room. To encourage a shared commitment to the collaboration, each service is taking the lead for one of the key collaboration areas. CDDFRS Chief Fire Officer, Stuart Errington commented: “Enhancing our collaboration has been one of our strategic objectives since 2011 and we have entered into a range of successful partnerships with Durham Constabulary, Northeast Ambulance Service and Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team in areas such as: shared estates; shared operational resources; shared community engagement; and tri-service responders in rural areas.” He added: “We have also developed a strong and effective working relationship with our neighbouring fire and rescue services, and it makes sense to us all to continue to explore future joint working to enhance the service we provide to our communities, protect frontline resources as well as increasing efficiency at the same time.” Working together keeps communities safer I’m looking forward to building on the strong relationships that already exist between our Services"TWFRS Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther said: “Many of the challenges faced by our Service do not stop at the borders of Tyne and Wear. I’m looking forward to building on the strong relationships that already exist between our Services. Working together and learning from each other not only benefits our organizations, it ultimately keeps our communities safer.” NFRS CFO Paul Hedley, said: “Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service have a long history of working successfully with North East FRS partners and other agencies on a wide range of initiatives which have delivered real benefits for the service.” “This agreement seeks to build on our previous collaboration with the objective of improving the way we delivery our services to our communities across response, prevention and protection while protecting front line services and building our resilience.”
Rugby fans will be able to get up close to the prestigious Heineken Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup trophies as they embark on a tour of the region before the Newcastle 2019 Finals in May. Community groups, businesses, rugby clubs and schools will all be part of the Trophies Tour. The three-week program will cover 59 separate events and will take place from Saturday 23 March until Sunday 14 April. Emergency Service As part of the tour, the trophies will be at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) Headquarters in Barmston Mere on Monday 8 April from 10 am until 12 pm. We’re thrilled and honored to be part of the European rugby trophies tour" Chris Lowther Chief Fire Officer for TWFRS said: “We’re thrilled and honored to be part of the European rugby trophies tour as we are the only emergency service to play host. We’d encourage rugby fans to join us at our Service Headquarters to see these prestigious trophies before the finals in May. This is a great way to kick-start our 45th birthday celebrations and our Sports and Welfare Club are planning lots of sporting activities to celebrate throughout the year.” Welcoming Sports Fans Taking place over the weekend of 10-11 May 2019, Newcastle is hosting the Greatest Weekend in Rugby. It kicks off at St James’ Park with the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final on Friday 10 May (kick off 19.45) followed by the Heineken Champions Cup Final on Saturday 11 May (kick off 17.00). Mick Mangan Chair of TWFRS Sports and Welfare Club said: “I’m immensely proud that we will welcome the sport of rugby’s coveted trophies into our organization. We appreciate this opportunity to showcase this event as a starting point for the Sports and Welfare Club’s 45th anniversary and could not think of a better spring board for the future events in 2019/20. We welcome sports fans to come and enjoy this opportunity with us.” Selfie With The Trophies During the Trophies Tour fans will have the chance to win tickets to the Challenge Cup Final on Friday 10 May by getting the best selfie with the trophies and sharing them on social media (Twitter and Facebook) with the hashtag #Newcastle2019TrophiesTour. We are looking to engage with a wide range of communities and the Trophies Tour is a crucial part of this" Mick Hogan, Newcastle 2019 event director, said: “In the build-up to, and during the Newcastle 2019 Finals, we are looking to engage with a wide range of communities in the region and the Trophies Tour is a crucial part of this. As well as the rugby community, we want to attract new people to the sport and build excitement for what promises to be the greatest weekend in rugby.” Generating Tremendous Interest “Both the Heineken Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup trophies are very prestigious and impressive. We’re sure they will generate tremendous interest and will draw in large crowds to see the two trophies. As well as drumming up excitement for the Newcastle 2019 Finals, we want to showcase our wonderful region to fans from all over the world.” Newcastle 2019 is the fastest-selling Heineken Champions Cup final ever, with fans waiting for news of a further, limited release of tickets on general public sale as allocations for fans of finalist clubs are being re-assessed throughout the season. Tickets for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final are also showing healthy sales and it is on course to be one of the most attended finals ever.