Release date: 28 June 2019
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has welcomed nine new retained (on-call) firefighters to its ranks following an intensive two week training programme.
Having been put through their paces in the yard at Worthing Fire Station they welcomed family and friends to a Pass Out Parade on Friday, June 21.
They will now join the crews at a number of fire stations across the county to provide on-call support. Many of the new recruits have full-time jobs elsewhere in their communities. Living or working in close proximity the station, they can be paged at any time of the day to respond to an emergency situation.
Among the new recruits was Kerrie Sutton who works for Sanctuary Housing Association. She will be joining the crew at Lancing Fire Station.
She said: “It is always something I wanted to do when I was younger, but life took a different direction for me so it wasn't something I was able to do.
“I saw an advert in a local parish newspaper and I thought, well why not? I am just going to go for it and here I am.
“I love being part of something, and I feel like I am part of a family and a community. You only live once so you may as well give it a go!”
The course marked a return to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for Chris Relf, who will be joining the ranks of East Wittering Fire Station in addition to his day job at West Sussex Alternative Provisions College in North Mundham having previously served at Bosham Fire Station.
He said: “The best thing is the camaraderie, we are all in it together. Having done it before I would definitely advise anyone to give it a go. Everyone looks out for each other and you get to do some really, really interesting things.”
For professional detail car valeter Lucy Stout, joining the fire service was also something she had dreamed of doing, but didn’t feel she had enough self-confidence to see through. After putting in the hard work, she is now joining the crew at Haywards Heath.
She said: “I knew if I didn’t believe in myself I wouldn’t get there, so I believed in myself and here I am!
“It is literally the best thing I have ever done, everyone is really friendly and they all want to help you out - they want you to pass. The hose running was hard, but it was fun and there was a lot of encouragement from the team.”
Galo David Choez Loor is the newest recruit to join Chichester Fire Station. Living and working in the city at a coffee shop, he was keen to explore something new.
He said: “I love helping people, that was one of my main incentives for doing this.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to become an on call firefighter to do so, it is a hard course but it is really rewarding, and it gives you real skills for life, you study and work with people from different backgrounds so you get to meet a lot of different people.”
Presenting the new recruits with their certificates at Worthing Fire Station was West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Area Manager for Response, Jon Simpson. He said: “It was a real privilege to welcome nine new on-call firefighters to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
“Feedback from the lead instructors was really excellent following their two week intensive course.
“We wish them all the very best of luck and know that they are going to make a real difference to the communities they will serve. I would like to thank all of the instructors who have worked extremely hard to train and support our new firefighters.”
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is currently recruiting retained firefighters across the county.
For more information visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire and click on ‘Fire & Rescue Recruitment’.
The graduates, and which station they’ll be based at, are:
- Lucy Stout, Haywards Heath
- Thomas Jackson, East Preston
- Dom Walheim, Shoreham
- Chris Relf, East Wittering
- Kerrie Sutton, Lancing
- Galo David Choez Loor, Chichester
- Robert Austin, Steyning
- Joel Northam, Steyning
- Jason Roe, Billingshurst