Newly trained firefighters are ready to protect communities on the frontline after becoming the first recruits to join their service in 10 years.
The first firefighters recruit course at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) in almost a decade has drawn to an end this week after 15 weeks of intensive training.
The 23 new starters had their Passing out Parade, with the event a long standing fire service tradition allowing the successful recruits the opportunity to showcase a small selection of their new skills.
This includes a number of fire ground scenarios and is followed by a presentation of certificates and course awards.
Almost 5,000 aspiring firefighters applied in the first recruitment drive since 2010.
TWFRS's Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther said: “Today we have celebrated the transformation of 23 people into elite firefighters.
“Our firefighters don’t just fight fires and rescue people from road traffic collisions, they play an integral role in our community to help prevent emergencies and accidents occurring in the first place.
"They also help to educate children on the risks from fire, water and roads.
“Throughout the past 14 weeks our recruits have been put through their paces and been trained at the highest level and their determination and hard work has paid off.
"It’s a proud day not only for the Service but the recruits, the trainers and of course their families who have supported them every step of the way.
"For the 23 who have had their passing out parade – this is not the end but the beginning.”
The cohort of 23 have all been given a job within TWFRS.
Councillor Barry Curran, chairman of the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority, added: “Huge congratulations to the recruits. It was fantastic to be able to see them put into practice what they have learnt over the past 14 weeks during their drill displays this afternoon.
"I wish them the very best as they continue to learn and develop their firefighting skills within Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.”
In front of friends, family and dignitaries, the 23 demonstrated their skills in three scenarios: a house fire showing a variety of firefighting and rescue techniques; an aircraft incident involving the handling of a crashed light aircraft rescue and a road traffic collision utilising specialist rescue equipment used at road traffic collisions.
Following the demonstrations the recruits were presented with awards:
*The Dan McCormack trophy was awarded to Annabel Crowther and is awarded to the student with the best theoretical results during the course.
*Lee Rukin received the George Maddox trophy which is awarded to the recruit receiving the highest theoretical and practical Breathing Apparatus (BA) marks. George Maddox a former BA instructor and Station Officer is remembered for his high standards and extensive knowledge in all BA related areas.
*The Sliver Axe award is presented to the recruit with the best theoretical and practical results throughout the course across all disciplines and was also awarded to Lee Rukin.
*Daniel Claridge was awarded the Dusty Ashman Trophy which is presented to the recruit who in the opinion of their fellow course members has made the greatest overall contribution during the 15 weeks of training to become the ‘recruit’s recruit’.
The recruits will now join their new watches and stations across the Service to start the next stage of their training and development.
The stations they will be deployed to include Sunderland Central, Farringdon, South Shields, Newcastle Central, Byker, Tynemouth and Gateshead.
Recruits station and Watch:
Rachel Ramanayake - Sunderland Central Green Watch
Duncan McLean - Sunderland Central White Watch
Joshua Outtram - Sunderland Central Red Watch
Lee Rukin - Farringdon Green Watch
Annabel Crowther - Farringdon White Watch
Daniel Claridge - Farringdon Blue Watch
Nicholas Armstrong- South Shields Red Watch
Kai Kirkham - South Shields White Watch
Liam O’Neill - Newcastle Central White Watch
Jordan Carling - Newcastle Central Red Watch
Marc Lancaster - Newcastle Central Blue Watch
Daniel Nessfield - Byker Green Watch.
Paul Gregson - Byker Blue Watch
Jake Stephenson - Byker White Watch
Ben Gardner - Byker Red Watch
Paul Fairney - Tynemouth Red Watch
Kyle Shaw - Tynemouth Blue Watch
Jason Finlay - Tynemouth Green Watch
Scott Hope - Tynemouth White Watch
Molly Batey - Gateshead White Watch
Matthew Laidler - Gateshead Blue Watch
James O’Connell - Gateshead Red Watch
Ross Herring - Gateshead Green Watch
Course director: station manager Jon Anderson