Firefighters start their careers together - and apart - as service sticks to the social-distancing rules with new intake
An emergency service has welcomed 24 new recruits to its ranks – but the start of their firefighting careers will look very different to any other.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has begun its first recruits’ course of 2020, with the rookies now undergoing an intensive 14-week course at TWFRS’ Training Centre in Barmston, Washington.
However, this course will be unique, as both the training centre instructors and recruits will be keeping to social distancing rules, ensuring that they are at least two metres apart during their sessions.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the service has said it is committed to running the course, as long as the necessary restrictions were put in place to ensure that everyone involved was able to keep a safe distance.
The service has already run refresher courses – under the current Covid-19 restrictions - for returning retired firefighters and other operational staff and felt confident that the recruits’ course could continue as planned.
Among the recruits are two brothers, two internal candidates from TWFRS’ control room and technical services, a teacher, lecturer, insurance advisor, mechanical fitter, engineer and a multi-sports coach.
Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther said: “I’m really pleased to welcome the 24 men and women here, taking their first exciting steps to become a firefighter.
"This is an intensive course which will see them attain the vital professional skills needed to help them become firefighters.
“However, what they will also gain is strong camaraderie with their fellow recruits, which will last throughout their entire careers.
“It is this team spirit which will give them the strength to get through the course, and ensure that they are there for each other.
“It is also the same team spirit that I am seeing throughout the service by both operational and non-operational staff, all of whom are stepping up to the plate to continue to deliver a first-class fire and rescue rervice for the communities of Tyne and Wear, as well as respond to the challenges they face during the pandemic.
“I’d also like to thank our training centre instructors for making the necessary changes to the course to allow us to deliver it safely for all concerned.”