New Tyne and Wear Firefighter recruits incorporate social-distancing into their training course

CFO Chris Lowther

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has begun its first recruits’ course of 2020. Twenty-four future firefighters are now undergoing an intensive 14 week course at TWFRS’ Training Centre in Barmston, Washington.

However, this course will be unique amongst all that have gone before, as both the Training Centre Instructors and recruits will be adhering to social distancing, by ensuring that they are at least 2 metres apart.

Despite the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the Service was 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.

Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther commented:

“I’m really pleased to welcome the 24 men and women here today, 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.”

Amongst the new 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.

Chris concluded:

“This is an unprecedented time in all of our lives. Our recruits are joining us at a time when our skills and ability to protect our communities are facing unique challenges. While they may only be witnesses to these challenges, I know they will learn from them – as we all will – and make them better prepared for the career that lies before them.”