On-call firefighters and Control operators were the guests of honour at a Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service passing out parade last night (Thu, Oct 18).
The event was held to mark the achievement of the 18 men and women who have become fully operational firefighters in the past year and vowed to give up their free time to help others.
On-call firefighters train in four modules during their development, attend a weekly drill night and make themselves available for agreed hours around jobs, family responsibilities and other commitments.
The ceremony also included Fire Control staff marking the completion of their development programme, and was attended by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Bowers and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Chairman Chris Carter.
Head of Learning and Development Ty Whitlock said:
“It is a great pleasure to see the evolution of the next generation of firefighters.
“These people, who all have other jobs or commitments, are an inspiration and a testament to what is at the heart of every firefighter – the desire to help others.
“The skills that these people have learned and honed will help keep the people of Hampshire safe for years to come.”
There were five Fire Control operators collecting their certificates including a former air stewardess and a trained helicopter pilot.
The firefighters come from across the county and from all walks of life.
The service has a group of retained duty system officers who promote the role including the prospect of being on-call from a place of work.
Several employers support their staff in this to serve the community and benefit from the skills and training that their personnel acquire.
In the past year HFRS has had record intakes of on-call firefighters and started to offer training from different sites across the county.
More than 100 have been recruited to this paid post in this time.
HFRA Chairman Chris Carter said:
“It is heartening to see the level of skill and commitment shown by these firefighters and others like them.
“Their dedication is all the more remarkable when you consider they do this in addition to a job or looking after a family.
“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of the best in the country and I am sure this generation will be a credit to that stellar reputation and the people of the county.”
HFRS played a key role in putting together a national on-call campaign to attract more candidates nationwide.
Find out about vacancies at www.oncallfire.uk or on social media via #OnCallFire.