Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS) full-time firefighter trainees are nearly a month into their 13 week new recruits course at Immingham West Fire Station.
The recruitment drive last summer attracted around 2,500 applicants. Following a rigorous process consisting of a series of online tests, physical and practical exercises, a swim test and then in-depth interviews, HFRS selected the final 20 to go forward to the course at the new facility which began on 9 January, 2017.
This was the first time in nearly a decade that the Service had needed to recruit full-time firefighters. To complement the new intake and the changing face of the Service’s estates, a significant investment has been made to make Immingham West into a state-of-the-art training facility.
New living quarters, modernised shower and changing facilities, improved break-out areas and a brand new teaching classroom have been added to match the equally impressive outdoor training area.
Alongside the existing working at heights tower is the marine firefighting unit, compartment fire behaviour training units, BA chamber complex, HGV trailer, open water facilities and a silo which will test the recruits to the full as they learn firefighting skills, rescue techniques, RTC extrication, hazardous materials and confined space rescue.
HFRS worked closely with contractors Hobson and Porter to ensure that the work was completed within a tight time scale in order that the course could start on time in the New Year. The centre will not only be used to train Humberside recruits, but could be used to train other services from around the UK.
Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders is delighted with both the facility and the current crop of new recruits:
‘These people here are the future of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. By training them at this fantastic new facility, we can keep them ‘close to home’ in both senses of the word and prepare them as best we can to serve our communities when they are posted to stations across our area after Easter.
‘The role of a firefighter has changed significantly since we last recruited and we have designed a course to reflect not only the traditional response and rescue elements, but also the softer skills required when working in the community.
HFRS will soon set out on the road to another course to start in September 2017. CFO Sanders added:
‘I am pleased to announce that the recruitment process will begin again in March. We will be holding taster days over the next six weeks to encourage those who were disappointed last time and others who may not have considered a career in the fire service to apply for our next recruits course.’