WEST Sussex Fire and Rescue Service welcomed seven new retained firefighters following their graduation at East Preston fire station.
Nat Slade, Matt Gell, Stephen Harper, Steven Goodall, Warren Boyt, Shaun Challis and Neil Daniels have just completed their initial training course and will now join their colleagues at retained fire stations around the county.
The new firefighters were presented with their certificates by head of response and people and organisational development Neil Stocker on Friday (June 1).
“I am delighted to welcome our new firefighters into the service,” he said.
“Their training has been of the highest professional standard and I am confident they will all be a real asset to their respective fire stations and local communities.
“Being a retained firefighter is a demanding but highly rewarding job and we welcome applications from all sections of the community.
“We still need firefighters at many of our retained fire stations around the county – all you need in the first instance is to be over 18, have a good level of fitness and live within four minutes travel of the station.”
Retained firefighters are on call, meaning they are usually employed elsewhere or are at home when they receive a pager alert.
Retained firefighters fully crew 14 of the 25 fire stations in West Sussex.
They receive regular training in firefighting, rescue and extrication techniques equipping them with the skills to deal with fires, road traffic accidents and a wide range of other emergencies.
“The retained duty system relies on the support of local employers who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents,” said Neil.
“Of course, there are benefits to the employer as well – retained firefighters learn new skills, like first aid and LGV driving, which they may be able to use in their full time jobs as well.”
New retained recruit for Arundel, Matt Gell, said: “Firefighting is something I have always wanted to do but wasn’t settled in one place long enough to do it.
“Now that I have settled permanently in Arundel I am really keen to be an integral part of my local community.
“Becoming a retained firefighter has given me that and so much more besides.
“I am a tree surgeon by day and have been able to use some of the same skills during my fire and rescue training.
“I have been well supported throughout the process and it’s fantastic to be part of the crew at Arundel, they immediately accepted me as one of their own and have a great spirit there.”
The other firefighters will be based at the following station: Nat Slade, Arundel; Steven Harper, Petworth; Steven Goodall, Selsey; Warren Boyt, Selsey; Shaun Challis, Shoreham; Neil Daniels, Arundel.
Anyone interested in becoming a retained firefighter can call 01243 642134 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.