Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Apprentices Blaze Ahead

Ten new apprentices at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been hard at work in their new roles.

The apprentices, 7 apprentice firefighters, 2 business administration apprentices and a motor vehicle apprentice are based at locations across the County.

The successful candidates were selected from the 50 applications received from 18-24 year olds nationwide and the apprenticeships are helping to shape the futures of these young people.

I saw the advert for the apprenticeships and applied immediately as I have always aspired to be a firefighter.

I don’t mind having to travel to Staffordshire, I’m based at Stafford Fire Station on Blue Watch and I’m a firefighter in development and undergo the same rigorous training as my colleagues.

My apprenticeship only allows me to work 30 hours a week so I join the watch for two days and one night shift as my usual working week. I highly value my job and I am hoping that by the end of my apprenticeship I will be successful in securing a position to remain in Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. I would recommend the programme to anyone, as it is a great way to give individuals the opportunity to become a firefighter and the programme is worth its weight in gold.

The apprentices are following the Emergency Fire Service Operations Framework and gain the core firefighter qualifications of a BTEC Level 3 (Technical Certificate), NVQ Level 3 and Key Skills at Level 2. Once trained, they will have the opportunity to apply for available positions within Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

James Russell, 18 from Stafford was a successful applicant to work within Business Administration and is based at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Headquarters in Stone, within the Training and Development team.

The administration and correspondence of all of the training courses at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue goes through the office I’m based in and we are often inundated with emails and requests.

Despite such a large workload, I have a great time and really enjoy my work. This is mainly due to the people in and around the office and everyday being different, giving me the chance to meet new people. I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity.

The apprentices are employed by The Apprenticeship Works who employ apprentices for various business and organisation across the West Midlands.

“We wanted to take advantage of the benefits apprenticeships bring to our organisation and are using this programme as a means of unlocking young talent within our local community.

“This will ensure we continue to have a workforce equipped with the skills which are required to be successful not only for today but also in the future.”
The apprenticeships programme is funded by the Government and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are one of only a few Fire and Rescue Service’s to link in with a third party.

Don’t be a dummy ““ know the dangers of smoking in cars

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be showing you how to avoid being a dummy next month – and cut down on your smoking into the bargain.

Two special “test dummies” will be helping with a demonstration at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium on Saturday 7 August to highlight the dangers of smoking in cars. Both were part of a study done in the West Midlands to find out the damage done to people travelling in cars by fellow passengers or the driver.

As part of the demonstration, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue will be filling a car with “safe smoke” to show how it can circulate quickly in an enclosed space, and how it can affect those travelling in the car. It has been estimated that smoking just one cigarette in a car, even with the window open, creates a harmful concentration of tobacco smoke. The largely invisible smoke, clings to the car’s upholstery, children’s car seats and passengers, putting people at risk of serious illnesses.

A recent study carried out in the West Midlands shows that people who inhale cigarette smoke while they are in a car, can inhale as much as three times the amount that would be considered safe to inhale over the course of a day. Even with the car’s windows or air conditioning on, it didn’t reduce it by a significant amount. The toddler sized dolls used in the study and the results from the research will be on display on the day, to highlight the effects of second hand smoke, in particular, the harmful effects on children.

Councillor Terry Follows, cabinet member for environment, waste management and neighbourhood services, said: “People may think that just because they have the windows open or the air conditioning on, then it’s ok to smoke or be with someone who is smoking, but in reality, it could have a serious effect on your long term health.

Claire McIver from NHS Stoke on Trent said: “Passive smoking in children and young people is a significant problem locally with over 50% of young people in Stoke on Trent exposed to other people’s tobacco smoke in the car, and around 1/3 in the home. It can lead to bronchitis, asthma, inner ear infections and even worsened behavioural problems and child development.

In addition children who are regularly exposed to smoking in their homes and cars are three times more likely to take up smoking themselves. The best thing you can do to protect others from the dangers of passive smoking is to make your home and car completely smoke free.”

As part of the demonstration, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue will also be flooding a car with “safe smoke” to show how it can circulate quickly in an enclosed space, and how it can affect those travelling in a car.

Firefighter Jim Taaffe from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “It is important that people are aware of the dangers of smoking whilst in the car, as not only can the smoke itself cause health problems but it is also a distraction to the driver.

“It is also important to bear in mind that other people smoking in your car could distract you just as easily and distractions whilst driving can lead to serious accidents.”

NHS Stoke on Trent is very keen to support initiatives like this. The Stoke on Trent Stop Smoking Service offers support to any smoker who wants to quit in a wide range of settings across the city. Stop smoking medicines (such as patches and gum) are available for the cost of a prescription (or free to those who don’t pay for prescriptions). For more information about free services available to you locally call 0800 085 0928.

Hanley Firestation bids Farewell..for now

Hanley Fire Station was open to the public today with a farewell open day. Fire Fighters put on various displays including, rescue demonstrations, using cherry pickers and harnesses, and how to put out a chip pan fire. The public were able to sit in a fire trucks which were displaying their equipment such as hoses and winching gear.

In addition there were a variety of stalls laid out giving away freebies for children such as colouring sheets, armbands and water bottles. Inside the main fire bay, old uniforms, and fire engines from years gone by were on display alongside a model of the New Hanley fire station which will be built on the current site with work beginning later this year.

The new-build Fire Station is just one of nine new build Community Stations across the county. The new look stations will be designed to accommodate the general public with seminar rooms and lecture theatres to enable community use of the brand new state of the art facilities.

Firefighter Safety Improved

By Pits n pots Reporter

Staffordshire fire engines have been fitted with defibrillators in a move to improve Firefighter safety.

Scania 94D PLR

Scania 94D PLR

Defibrillators are the devices that that can restart the heart by giving an electric shock in cases of cardiac arrest. 80 Firefighters from the Service have been trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service to become Defibrillator Instructors. These instructors have then been responsible for training the rest of their teams on station.

Bob Russell, Director of Safer Communities comments, “The safety of our crews is paramount and obviously they do work in highly stressful situations and extreme conditions. Although an occasion in which a Firefighter collapses is rare, we feel that having this life saving equipment to hand is necessary, and if it saves the life of just one of our Firefighters then it has been funding well spent.”

“These defibrillators have been fitted for use on our own staff however if the crews did attend an incident in which it was necessary to use this equipment on a member of the public then obviously they would do so.”

Duncan Parsonage, Community Response Manager from West Midlands Ambulance Service says “We’re pleased that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has taken the decision to fit these defibrillators and utilise our expertise for the training. We also did the same training for Firefighters in West Midlands Fire Service, they had their defibrillators fitted a year ago now and I know that they have already been put to use on a Firefighter who collapsed at an incident.”

The defibrillators have been fitted on all front line appliances which total 54. The Cardiac Science Corporation is the provider of the defibrillators and they have provided 50% of the funding for them.

Business Corporation Manager at the Cardiac Science Corporation, Andy Relf, states, “Early intervention is essential in addressing a sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillators need to become as common as fire extinguishers in all public places and work environments; this is a great step forward having them on fire appliances.”