We’ve enjoyed following our new recruits over the last couple of months as they navigate their way through eight tough, yet rewarding, weeks at The Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh.
We have seen them learn to tackle fires, brave great heights, and keep calm under extreme pressure.
With core firefighter skills firmly under their belts, they will now embark on the next phase of their apprenticeship and meet their new firefighter family, joining them on stations across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
It is time for the real journey to begin – and we’re proud to say we are with them every step of the way!
Following fire service tradition, to celebrate this milestone, we held a Pass Out Ceremony where successful recruits are awarded certificates and find out which stations they will be assigned to. For the first time in around 25 years we hosted this important event at the Blue-Light Hub, West Ashland. Friends and family, Members of the Fire Authority, and fellow employees attended the ceremony to congratulate and officially welcome our new recruits.
There was a real buzz of excitement as the audience were treated to a demonstration by the newly fledged firefighters, which included a collision and “persons reported” scenario. It was an opportunity for family to see how hard their loved ones have worked. In the words of one of our smaller guests: “ I am here to see Daddy be a hero” – and we don’t think they could have been disappointed.
Before being presented with their Pass Out certificates from our Chief Fire Officer, Jason Thelwell, he offered them some words of wisdom:
“Be the best you can possible be. Be better tomorrow than today and live up to the highest standards expected by your colleagues and your community. Well done to you all.’CFO Jason Thelwell – 20 May 2022
Big Congratulations to:
- Firefighter Marco Capella
- Firefighter Kai Day
- Firefighter James Ford
- Firefighter Stephen Gould
- Firefighter Tomas Petrons
- Firefighter Jason Purssell-Danks
- Firefighter James Steele
- Firefighter Elliott Thomas
- Firefighter Elliot Tierney
- Firefighter Daniel Walker
- Firefighter Lewis Bristol
- Firefighter Felix Baxter
In the tradition of the fire service, on every course a silver axe is presented to the top recruit for showing great self-discipline, motivation, and leadership qualities throughout the course. And an exceptional attitude to learning. This was awarded to Firefighter James Steele.
It is important to Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service that we support our community as it represents the people we serve. With this in mind, a special thank you is made to local charity MacIntyre Catering which supported the event by providing refreshments on the day.
The MacIntyre team created the food to their usual high standard, and presented in a professional manor, which was well received by all those that attended.
Westcott Venture Park is set to become home to a new disaster training facility for our Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team.
The USAR programme was established following the 9/11 attack on New York in 2001, to improve the country’s ability to respond to the increased risks posed by terrorism. USAR forms part of the Government’s New Dimension programme, which seeks to enhance the capability of the fire and rescue service to respond to a range of major emergencies.
Kevin Mercer, Aylesbury and USAR Station Commander, said:
“We are really excited about our future at Westcott where we aim to develop one of the best USAR training facilities in the country.
“Our tenancy will help further showcase Westcott and its commitment to supporting this specific and essential national resilience capability.”
Exercises play a part in training:
In September 2020 Westcott hosted Exercise Phoenix for us (shown in images above), a major disaster training operation which involved a scenario with a small jet crashing into a rocket testing and fuel production facility following an unsuccessful emergency landing.
More than 100 personnel from five USAR units across Buckinghamshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Essex, and West Midlands attended, along with tactical advisors, and canine search teams trained to detect live human scent.
They were joined by ten Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) paramedics using a range of specialist lifesaving equipment and vehicles and Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) teams.
We are still in the very early stages of developing the site into a training venue and looking to source a range of materials from rubble to unwanted vehicles to help build the rescue scene.
Alan Still, Watch Commander USAR Support, added:
“Exercise Phoenix was extremely successful, and it opened people’s eyes to the potential it has for hosting such large-scale exercises. A significant part of the training facility is a blank piece of land, where we need the equivalent of 200 tonnes of rubble, and we need help to build it.”
The move will see pre-hospital critical care crews using the station as a standby location from which to reach people in need of urgent care. They will also have a dedicated space to hold debriefs and sensitive discussions after being called out to treat those who are seriously ill or injured.
In addition to its helicopter, TVAA has five critical care response cars which provide greater flexibility in areas difficult to access by aircraft. These cars frequently use ambulance standby locations, such as one in Slough, but securing access from Marlow Fire Station will provide the charity with further deployment options across a region covering over 2,000 square miles.
Having response cars at key places across the region means it can give people the best possible chance of survival and recovery, bringing the hospital to the patient, wherever they are.
On average there are 11 electrical fires in the home every day in England – Electrical Fire Safety Week 2021 runs between 22 and 28 November.
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has attended two incidents involving electrical household items catching fire during Electrical Fire Safety Week 2021. This has prompted a safety message to help others reduce the risk of undetected electrical fires breaking out in their homes.
Firefighters from High Wycombe and Beaconsfield were called to Crown Lane Marlow, at 5.11pm on Monday (22 November), after a smell of burning was detected coming from a washing machine.
Just eight minutes later, crews responded to a call to a fridge on fire, this time located in a garage which was attached to a house in Wyndham Avenue, High Wycombe.
Joanne Cook, Community Safety and Safeguarding Manager, said: “These incidents were unrelated, however both occurred during the daytime where they could be quickly detected and the fire and rescue service called.
“Although fires originating from electrical appliances in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are in line with the national average, the number of daytime incidents peak between 4pm and 5pm when a greater number of household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers, are in use.
“However we are also aware that sometimes people set these sort of electrical appliances to operate overnight, or leave them on while they are out. If an incident occurs in these situations, it can take longer to be noticed, and in the worst cases the effects can be devastating for residents and homeowners.
“When we looked at our incident data for fires involving electrical items where the fire has spread beyond the appliance, the most common time period was between 10pm and midnight, possibly where people have set their household appliances to operate and then gone to bed.”