Ely Fire Station has swelled its ranks with two new on-call recruits.
Paul Hudson, 31, and Nick Lake, 41, are among 14 new on-call firefighters to join Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service – the largest number in over five years.
Paul is a furniture manufacturer and fitness fanatic who enjoys football coaching, while services project manager Nick spends his spare time taking part in water sports, camping and outdoor activities.
The latest batch of on-call recruits passed out on Sunday (March 26) after three months of intense training at headquarters in Huntingdon.
All the recruits have had to fit training around their regular jobs, taking holiday to attend training sessions during the day as well as attending evening and weekend sessions.
On-call recruits are trained in exactly the same skills as their wholetime counterparts, including firefighting skills and the use of breathing apparatus.
Group Commander Simon Newton, who presented the recruits with certificates at the pass-out parade, praised the recruits, and their families, for the dedication shown in completing the three months of training.
“I am always humbled by the commitment and sacrifice made by our on-call staff to provide essential emergency cover to their local communities.
Watching this group in action it is difficult to believe that only three months ago they walked in off the street to start their career with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. Equally impressive is that the skills on show are only a tiny reflection of the hard work and dedication each one of them will have shown to earn the right to pass out.
“I would personally like to thank them and their families for the positive impact their decision to join the on-call Service will have on their communities. They should, quite rightly, feel very proud of their achievements.”
Group Commander Gary Mitchley, head of on-call at CFRS, said: “It is great to see for the first time in over five years a course with 14 on-call recruits passing out and joining their respective stations to serve their communities as on-call firefighters. They and their families should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.
“Eleven weeks ago they walked into our training centre here at Huntingdon and have worked hard over weekdays, evenings and weekends pushing themselves to learn new skills in a range of challenging environments to achieve the standards required to be able to ride a fire engine and respond to a wide range of emergencies when our public need us.”
Among the new recruits is chef Mark Minns, 26, who joins Manea Fire Station.
On-call firefighters are trained professionals who respond to emergencies in their communities alongside their day-to-day lives. They may be at home, work or out and about when they receive a pager alert calling them to an incident.
Some new recruits have other jobs and respond to 999 emergencies while they are at work thanks to the support of local employers, who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents. There are also benefits to the employer and employee as on-call firefighters receive new skills and training which they may be able to use in their full time jobs as well.
On-call firefighters have to be aged 18 and over, have a good level of all-round fitness and live or work within five minutes travelling time of an on-call fire station.
There are 24 on-call fire stations across Cambridgeshire. To find out more about being an on-call firefighter click here.