Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


On-call firefighter Dan undergoes surgery in bid to achieve his dream

An on-call firefighter from Burnham-on-Crouch refused to take no for an answer, after having bones in his ear rebuilt to allow him to pass a firefighter medical test.

In 2017 Dan Remfry applied to be an on-call firefighter, a role that would see his employer releasing him from his day job as a warehouse worker at a moment’s notice when called by the fire service.

When Dan passed the initial fire assessment he was thrilled - his fitness was up to the required standard and he was one step closer becoming a firefighter.

It was during the next stage however, a medical assessment required of all applicants, that Dan received the news he couldn’t go any further due to problems with his hearing. 

“I was told there was a risk that I could lose my hearing because I had a medical condition in my right ear called cholesteatoma, which had been brought on by repeated middle ear infections.”

Dan was referred to a specialist and put on a waiting list for an operation, but during the six month wait Dan never gave up on his end goal.

“It felt like the longest wait ever, but in those six months I continued to attend drill nights, keep up my fitness levels and help out at the station where I could,” said Dan.

Dan then had the operation to remove the infection and to rebuild two of the three smallest bones in his ear which control the hearing.

Three months later Dan went for a hearing test and couldn’t believe the results.

“Before the operation my hearing had depleted in the affected ear, but the operation has given me my hearing back and allowed me to pass my firefighter hearing tests.”

“It was the best news I could've asked for, and because I’d kept contact with the station right up until the operation, a little more hard work allowed me to pass all of the remaining tests quickly - I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I finally passed all of the tests.”

Since then Dan has been completing his basic training with the Burnham crew and at the end of October he passed his final test, allowing him to attend incidents and increase firefighter cover at Burnham Fire Station.

“The support through the whole process from my employer, Nash Tackle, my friends, family and the station has been incredible.

“My advice to anyone that wants to join the service would be to go for it, it's the best thing I ever done and hopefully I'll have a very long career protecting and providing a vital service to the community.

“If you’ve got a dream and believe you can do something then go out and get it, and settle for nothing less.”

We're holding a multi-station recruitment event at Maldon Fire Station for anyone interested in becoming an on-call firefighter in Maldon, Burnham, Tillingham or Tollesbury. Drop in anytime between 10am - 4pm on Saturday 12 January for more information.

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