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Fire Service welcomes 11 new firefighters at virtual celebration

Eleven new wholetime firefighters have been honoured at a passing out ceremony today (11 December) attended by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Jo Turton, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex Jane Gardner and some of their soon to be station and group managers.

The ceremony was live streamed to family and friends from all over the world who were able to watch the firefighters complete fire and road traffic collision exercises before being welcomed into the Service.

The recruits were due to start their training in April but because of the Covid-19, the course was delayed. Their skills were utilised in other parts of the Service while waiting for their course.

Two of the fireighters, Scott Thurlow and Dennis Campion, worked as ambulance drivers during the pandemic as part of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

The two helped to make more ambulances available during the pandemic and personally gave CPR to several people in cardiac arrest which helped to save their lives.

The firefighters have been put through their paces during the last 14 weeks as they embarked on an intensive training course. Juggling the struggles and restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic while wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Alongside their training at facilities across the county, they have learned the practical and technical skills needed to meet the demands of a modern day firefighter.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Jo Turton said:

“I wish all our new firefighters every success in your career with our Service and we know you will help to keep Essex a safe place to live, work and travel.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all today to our second virtual passing out parade this year. Of course we would have loved for all your loved ones to be here in person today and we are glad so many of them can watch this important event from the comfort of their own homes.

“We are always proud of our new recruits and today the passing out parade lets us all take the time to celebrate the magnificent achievements of our newest squad of firefighters, your loved ones and our colleagues.”

The firefighters took the time to thank their trainers for adapting during the Covid 19 pandemic and delivering the course.

Firefighter Neil Vint spoke on behalf of the squad to thank their trainers. He said: “The Service had to overcome huge upheaval during the pandemic including the training department. We have completed training and have passed out with a difference, throughout that the instructors have never let their standards drop.

“This course has been excellent to be a part of and we want to say a huge thank you to Station Manager Dan Kirk and his team for making it all that it was.”

Firefighter Tony Wakelin was recognised for his determination and professionalism during the course.

The new recruits will be based at fire stations in Basildon, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester, Grays, Harlow and Orsett.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting both wholetime and on-call firefighters. To find out more information and apply visit join.essex-fire.gov.uk

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