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ECFRS celebrates supermarket partnership at community event

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) and Tesco joined forces last week to recognise the outstanding work done by mutual staff based in Witham.

Now in its second year, ECFRS and Tesco’s partnership sees colleagues based at the Witham supermarket released during working hours to take on on-call firefighter duties – allowing them to work flexibly to keep their local community safe at a moment’s notice.

Two of those colleagues, Ian Noble and Darrel Drake, have worked for Tesco for 16 and 10 years respectively. After completing their on-call firefighter training last year, they now carry pagers around with them at all times – and when they sound, the pair immediately become firefighters.

To celebrate the relationship’s success and allow local residents to learn more about the role of an on-call firefighter, Ian and Darrel were joined by the rest of their fire crew at the store at Grove Shopping Centre on Friday (23 March).

Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley was also in attendance to present an award to Tesco People Manager Kelly Smith, in recognition of her dedication to the project.

Adam said: “Our on-call fire stations are a vital part of making Essex a safe place to live, work and travel.

“Tesco’s support in allowing their staff to be there for their community is something we truly appreciate. I’d like to thank Kelly, Ian and Darrel for their work and I am excited to see this scheme rolled out further across the county.”

Sheree Rankin, Store Manager at Tesco Witham, said: “I’m very proud of both Ian and Darrel for the professionalism and passion they show in being there for people at their time of need – many of whom are our own customers.

“They are a credit to both our store and their town and are great examples of how Tesco continues to support local communities.”

Interested in becoming an on-call firefighter?
If you’re over 18, physically fit and live within five minutes of an on-call station, head to our website for more information: essex-fire.gov.uk/oncall

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