cforedmondChief Fire Officer John Redmond has urged Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service's latest batch of new recruits to help continue the Service's "very successful” efforts in its main role of preventing emergency incidents while also engaging ever more with the local community.

A total of 25 new recruits were addressed by CFO Redmond at their 'passing out' ceremony last week [17 Nov] after successfully completing intensive initial training and displaying key qualities including "the ability to keep going when it gets tough and the physical courage to complete the demands put upon them".

CFO Redmond told the group at Theatre Severn: “You have now not only become a member of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service but also a member of a select group of people from your local fire station who are held in high esteem by the people in your local communities.”

A further ten firefighters also received awards for completing their full development programme training. They all join 300 “on call” firefighters providing emergency cover at 22 fire stations across the county while employed in other jobs.

CFO Redmond challenged the recruits to continue their new colleagues work which has seen the number of emergencies firefighers attend in the county cut by more than a third in almost a decade.

The number of emergency calls were down by 35% from 5,607 in the 12 months from 2004 to 2005 to 3,618 in 2013/14. Over the same time, accidental fires fell by 18 per cent from 280 to 230 meaning 50 fewer Shropshire households now “suffer the nightmare” of a fire in their home each year.

In addition to the recruits themselves, CFO Redmond went on to praise the support for firefighters from their families and friends and outlined how they are a “vital element" in the delivery of a fire service in Shropshire.

“The support you provide ranges from the tolerance of broken sleep, putting up with the endless stories of Fire Service life, organising your lives around one person’s availability for fire cover and the many other impositions you put up with," he added.

“Can I take this opportunity on behalf of the Service to thank you and the families of all our staff for your support and tolerance. You are a vital element in allowing us to deliver the service.”

Local Shropshire employers including modular buildings manufacturer Elements of Europe, Enterprise Whitchurch, Write Here, Barchester Health Care and Richard Burbidge Ltd, were also thanked for supporting the brigade by allowing the new recruits to leave work at a moments notice to answer a fire call.