Release date: 15 November 2019
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s newest recruits have been taking on a challenge, proving they are more than ready for life as a firefighter.
The 12 new recruits have completed a 24 hour endurance test in aid of charity.
The challenge saw them wear sets of breathing apparatus continually from 5pm on Thursday (14 November) until 5pm today (Friday 15 November).
Ahead of the challenge all the team underwent extensive training on the safe use of breathing apparatus to make sure they were fit and ready to take on the challenge.
Working in teams of two, the recruits powered through the night on minimal sleep, before heading out to meet residents during the day on Friday to raise money for the three charities they are supporting: The Fire Fighters Charity, the Air Ambulance, Kent, Surrey & Sussex, and Macmillan.
The fundraiser comes as the recruits mark their 11th week into their 13 week initial training course, which will see them deployed to a number of different stations around the county upon completion.
Jack Davis, one of the new recruits, said: “It’s actually quite strenuous when you’re on air, especially when you’re doing a physical activity, it can be very demanding. But completing a challenge like this means that we build up that familiarity with the equipment so that when we are faced with an emergency situation, we will feel totally at ease.”
Fellow recruit Faye Casburn said: “Half of the challenge was that we were super tired, but together we got through that and worked as a team to support each other.
“Being in that very confined space with the mask on and breathing in is not the most comfortable, but it is important that we are confident using the equipment as it could one day prove to be a lifesaver.
“We’re now in week 11 of our 13 week training course, so it’s sadly coming to an end, and the realisation of us becoming firefighters out there in the community is very daunting but extremely exciting.”
Jim Mackay, Course Commander, said: “It has been customary to organise a fundraising event towards the end of a wholetime recruits course for a number of years, and these latest recruits are no exception.
“The sense of teamwork and the bond they have built up over the last 11 weeks has gone a long way to prepare them not just for life on a fire station, but preparing them to be a firefighter in the communities they will serve.
“Logistically, this 24 hour breathing apparatus event has been a challenging event for them, but they have undertaken their training with real dedication and they have done exceptionally well.
“But their training course isn’t quite over yet, and despite the fundraiser being underway, they still had other training exercises to complete during the challenge. On Thursday evening they completed a road traffic collision training exercise alongside other firefighters from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.
“During the day on Friday they got out and about meeting residents to talk to them about the charities they have been raising money for, and they have received some real support from businesses and residents alike.
“They have been blown away by the support they have received for their fundraising efforts, and are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated to help them reach their funding goal.”
You can support their fundraising by donating online here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/24hr-ba-challenge