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Fire Service Safe and Well Officer retires after 41 years

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Safe and Well Officer and former firefighter Gerry Hudson-Crane retires today (31 July) after 41 years’ at the Service.

Gerry spent nine years at Grays Fire Station on Red Watch and a further 19 years on White Watch at Southend Fire Station, before retiring from his firefighting role in 2007 and then later that year re-joining the Community Safety team at Southend Service Delivery Point and working there for a further 13 years.

“When I first joined the fire service as a firefighter in April 1979, I was stationed at Grays, the M25 was just being built and we took part in Road Traffic Collision (RTC) exercises before the motorway was officially opened.” said Gerry.

“In my 28 years as a firefighter I have been to thousands of incidents. While at Grays, we had such a variety of risks, major arterial roads such as the A13 and the large industrial area in Purfleet, with plenty of warehouse fires and jobs at the Port of Tilbury. When I was stationed at Southend, I went to several pier fires in my career, one of the fires I went to involved the bowling alley and another, the pub that caught fire at the far end of the pier.”

Gerry added: “The one incident that I will never forget was when I was involved in a serious crash on Christmas Day in 2006, at 6:30am myself and the watch were on the way to an incident, when two of our fire engines collided at a set of traffic lights in Southend (1 x Southend, 1 x Leigh appliances), the engine I was travelling in overturned –  the crew suffered minor injuries and shock, and went to hospital that day – I feel very lucky to have survived that incident and to now be able to share my story before I finally retire – be it for the second time!”

“After the accident I was an operational firefighter until 2007 and then took a job in Community Safety. The one thing about working in our Service is that no-two days are ever the same.”

“I have really enjoyed my time at ECFRS, I have some great memories of the watches I was part of, the way everyone looked out for each other after we had attended a terrible incident, it was more than a ‘job’ we were one team that worked hard to keep the people of Essex safe.

“Once I moved into the Community Safety team I really enjoyed working with the public on a day to day basis –  it has been a great experience to able to keep people safe in their homes – and preventing them from having a  fire in the first place – to be able to pass on all my years of knowledge on fire safety to them.”

Gerry’s Charity Legacy

In Gerry’s current community safety role since 2007, he has raised at least £5,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, all from members of the public very happy with his home safety work all offering him donations, which Gerry advised them to donate to the charity.

Gerry is looking forward to retiring for the ‘second time’ in his career with the Service, this time around he is looking forward to spending time with his wife and four grandchildren.


Page last updated 31 July

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