New recruits 2017 blog
Having got through online testing, a swim test, physical and practical tests and finally an interview, our 20 new recruits were selected and began their course at Immingham West on Monday 9 January, 2017.
Over the 13 weeks of intensive training, the recruits will be writing a blog to give potential future applicants a feel for what it takes to become a full-time firefighter.
Week 13 (3 - 7 April)
Recruit FFs Lakin and Burnett
We have now reached the last week and with all final assessments completed, it is time to celebrate!
Monday saw us attending Service Headquarters to learn about mental health. This gave us a greater understanding in dealing with challenging situations related to mental illness. This was also our last lecture of the recruit’s course 2017.
It was then time to grab the ironing boards to make sure our parade uniform was in great condition for the dining in evening later that day. It is tradition to have a dining in evening for all the recruits and officers to formally celebrate the course achievements over a delicious meal and a few glasses of wine and port! In addition, FF Coleman delivered a blinder of a speech which included many laughs and jokes about the 'family' here at the RITS.
Despite a bit of tiredness (?) on Tuesday morning, it was then time to start preparing for the big day on Thursday - our passing out parade. We spent many hours cleaning and rehearsing our marching abilities to make sure we were all top notch for the day.
Once Thursday came we were all very nervous about drilling and marching in front of our friends and families. As they all arrived, we were donning up in our fire kit ready for the drill. Once the audience was seated, we turned up on the fire engines and gave a demonstration of a building fire.
It was then a quick turnaround for us to get ready into our parade uniform ready for our presentation from the Chief. We marched out together and were presented with our certificates from Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders. A few other awards were handed out to recruits that excelled in certain areas: FF Boole - Instructors award, FF Hedges - Endeavour Award, FF Davies - SILVER AXE.
Our last night together was spent down Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue enjoying a well-deserved beverage. We have had sore heads for the second time this week but it was all worth it!
Overall, the course has been a great experience and a pleasure to be able to meet so many amazing individuals. We have all worked well together and have created some ever lasting friendships. All of our instructors and staff that have been involved have worked incredibly hard for making this experience for us, and we would all just like to say thank you, it has been an incredible three months.
Week 12 (27 - 31 March)
Fire Fighters Charity ladder climb
Over £1000 was raised when the 20 recruits organised a charity ladder climb in Princes Quay Shopping Centre in Hull on Thursday 30 March. Using two 7m ladders, the recruits climbed the 8,848m required to 'scale' the height of Everest in just under three hours.
Full recruits' report of this event and their final full week to follow....
Week 11 (20 - 24 March)
Recruit FF Craig Walker (Blue Squad)
This week saw our third and final week of our BA training. The three weeks have, without doubt, been my favourite section of the course. Again we split up from Red Squad as they started their water rescue training ont Teeside.
Monday started back at Service Headquaters with some classroom theory, before doing an exercise on a high rise incident. Everybody soon learnt the hard work needed to manage the hose up the stairs. In a bid to get some footage, one of the instructors made the mistake of following Alpha 3 into the building who left with no casualties. Luckily Alpha 4 were on hand to save the dummies and the footage!
Monday evening saw Blue Squad assemble into our traditional "geek squad" as Tuesday and Wednesday brought two theory assessments, one set desrcription and two practical. So as a group we went through our set descriptions and fired questions back and forth at one another.
Tuesday morning back at Immingham saw us doing some last minute revision before heading into our exams. By dinner time we had completed both theory papers and the set description exam which brought a big sigh of relief as we soon learnt we had all passed. Then onto the practical in the OTC at Immingham which went through Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Everybody came out red faced looking ten years older (our tennis star in particular), but once again there was smiles all around as we had all passed.
Thursday saw us heading to Humberside Airport for some theory and practical input on fuel fires and hazards involved with the aircraft. Before dinner we split into two groups in a race to deal with a helicopter fire in the safest and most efficient way. After watching the first group and a bit of laughter at their techniques of rolling out hose, the first group managed to lock the lockers prior to our exercise slowing us down and in return laughing at our expense.
Thursday evening I had the opportunity to go down to meet my watch (buttering them up with chocolates and biscuits) and to look around the station before starting on shift in May. Then straight from there our instructors had organised a little surprise for us as we all met at the pub to take part in local pub quiz. One of the instructors had arranged for local speedster Guy Martin to come and chat to us. With all the recruits excited to meet and talk to Guy, it became clear that one of the instructors (mentioning no names) was probably more giddy than all of us getting his book signed!
Friday brought our final day of BA and it was our time to learn about ship fires in the new marine firefighting unit. It was a fantastic experience which saw us starting at the top working down through the heat layers to get to the fire in the engine room. Upon opening the last hatch and seeing flames coming through, there became a lack of volunteers willing to go down and more of a case of whoever was closest. Good luck!
This brought an end to another brilliant week and sees our passing out parade just around the corner.
Next week we will be passing you back over to FF Lakin and FF Mart who is getting a little tired after 11 weeks, but they'll be talking about our final week before pass out and our charity fundraiser day on the 30th at Princes Quay in Hull. We will be attempting to climb the ladder between us recruits until we reach the height of Mount Everest - so hope to see all our readers there to show their support.
Recruit FF William Dodd (Red Squad)
This week, the superior Red Squad had to tackle our RTC exam and a very cold week of Swift Water Tech ahead.
Monday began with our RTC written assessment after plenty of revision done over the weekend (of course!) Everyone passed comfortably, we then had a day of HGV training and thankfully we had WM Heath who fit the size of a HGV perfectly. We finished the day with a game involving airbags and lifting a bucket of water as high as possible, Red Squad easily beat the blues, as per!
Tuesday was our first day of the Swift Water Rescue course. We made the trek up to Tees Barrage to make use of their facilities. We had a bit of theory in the morning followed by us all *quickly* donning our dry suits for an afternoon of practical. We all got into the water and practiced our defensive and aggressive swimming - thankfully all of that breast and back stroke practice came in handy!!
Wednesday consisted of more theory and practical. Getting in the boat proved a challenge for most people, thankfully I did it first time and I offered the rest a gym plan if needed!
Thursday was the best day of the course so far - we did tag rescues where we essentially jumped on each other and rescued them...in theory. If the casualty was missed, they get treated to the biggest hydraulic there. Some even managed to go down it as the rescuer, which was an achievement!
On Thursday night we all went with Instructor Smith to meet his hero, Guy Martin at the Marrowbone and Cleaver in Kirmington. We also learnt that we should stick to the fire ground and not try our hands at pub quizzes!
For Friday we had a change of venue. This time we went to a very large, fast flowing and scary looking river! About three times the width of Tees, it was perfect for refining our skills in a real life environment. All in all a memorable week - only two more to go.
Week 10 (13 - 17 March)
Recruit FF Nathaniel Fuller (Blue Squad)
Day one of week ten already. I can't believe how fast the weeks are going. This week Blue Squad are completing their second week of BA training at Service HQ. Spirits are high after weekend leave and hopefully everyone is well rested. After experiencing the heat last week in CFBT, we're all looking forward to the start of 'hot wears' and are keen to show what we've learnt so far.
Our week begins with search and rescue techniques and we learn how to combine our 'BA shuffle' in a team with hose management. A simple sounding task and one the instructors carried out with ease, however, in reality much more difficult than it looks - so plenty of practice is needed!
Our days are a mixture of lectures and classroom based activities to provide us with the theory and practical 'hot wears' to develop our firefighting skills. After each wear, our instructors debrief us to help us develop and move closer to the high standards we need to achieve.
Once we get into the flow of the wears, we are introduced to the 'entry control board' and realise that the entry control officer is arguably one of the most important roles in BA.
By Wednesday we've moved on to ventilation - a controlled process to remove the smoke and heat from a building. We discussed different methods and possible complications. This was followed by a demonstration to illustrate the effectiveness.
Thursday saw us introduced to the principles of guidelines and branchlines. Having practised our techniques in the classroom, we were feeling fairly confident in our abilities as we moved into the Operational Training Centre. Unfortunately, in the pitch darkness, many of us soon realised it wasn't as simple as just tying a few knots. If tying the knots themselves wasn't already a challenge, then there was the added struggle of not getting tangled in the different lines.
In the afternoon, it was onto the infamous 'steamy windows' exercise. A hot wear which Red Squad had warned us about. Entering the 2nd floor, we followed a hose line, downwards through the heat layer. To make things harder, each time we closed a door to improve conditions, the instructors reopened it (labelling it as self opening). Add in an excessive amount of casualties at the bottom, which we were required to carry up the stairs, multiple wears and superheated steam and it was inevitable that the heat got to some of us as our limits were tested.
After a long day, we returned to Immingham, but there was no time for slacking, as we were fortunate enough to receive input from the water support unit at Barton as well as a visit from Immingham East to show us an appliance and familiarise us with the computerised system on the pump, and the mobile data terminal (MDT), a computer on the appliances with access to a vast amount of information.
Thursday may have been exhausting, but the thought of time relaxing with families over the weekend always lifts us on a Friday. Travelling from Immingham to Hessle, everyone was keen to 'get stuck in'. We had another hot wear in the morning and then in the afternoon looked at a case study of 'Shirley Towers' - an incident in which two firefighters lost their lives after becoming entangled in wires. This reminded us all of just how dangerous the job that we will be doing can be.
Having studied entanglement, we then put what we had learnt into practise with an exercise that required us to navigate our way through a wire-filled structure in teams of two. The catch? We would be under air, in full BA and with our vision obscured whilst the rest of our squad watched, laughing at any mishaps and making mental notes to use against us at a later date!
Another week completed and as we get closer to the end of the course, we are starting to think about passing out and moving on to the next phase in our training and joining our watches.
Blue Squad are continuing with BA training next week and RFF Walker will take over over blogging duties and will update you on our progress.
Recruit FFs Richardson and Wait (Red Squad)
After a tough week of IEC, week ten saw us move on to Road Traffic Collisions (RTC), a topic which the squad were looking forward to.
Day one tested our concentration with a theory heavy morning, but the afternoon was a lot more enjoyable as we got to grips with the hydraulic equipment that we would be using. A highlight was FF Taylor-Salmon digging a monumental hole for himself as he tried to convince WM Caswell that he couldn’t make us do press ups if we stepped out of line, little did he know the Watch Manager has every fitness qualification under the sun!
On day two we had a visit from the extrication team. This was to demonstrate the gold standard level of the ‘team approach’ and pass on any hints and tips they had to offer. In the afternoon we had a go and produced a bronze standard - but we were happy with that!
Day three started with a bit of a shock, we discovered that the sun does actually shine on Immingham and we were in our fire kit for 8:30 sharp, ready for a full day of hard work. After being quizzed on the six phases of an RTC, Watch Manager Heath gave us a masterclass on cutting techniques for a car on all four wheels and for a car on its side. In the afternoon we put what we learnt to the test and had a go at all the techniques we had been taught. Day three ended on a high, and we were closing in on the gold standard!
With arms wilting from the heavy cutting equipment we had been using, we were praying for a morning in the classroom on day four. However, the Watch Managers had other ideas - back in fire kit for 8:30 for another day in the sun! This time we had to conquer a vehicle on its roof and a big scenario in the afternoon.
Day five was practical assessment day, with three challenging scenarios to overcome. With a few learning points, we all did well and enjoyed getting stuck in. We are all looking forward to a weekend break before our written assessments on Monday.
Week 9 (6 - 10 March)
Recruit FF Liam Boole (Red Squad)
Week nine and the end is in sight, but no time for complacency as there's still plenty to learn! Blue Squad have started their first week of BA, whilst 'Super Red' got stuck into IEC (Immediate Emergency Care).
Entering the classroom on day one we were greeted by a sea of defibrillators, dummies, trauma bags and equipment. The day consisted of theory mixed with hands on practical working on BLS (Basic Life Saving) skills. To help us perfect our CPR, the dummies were hooked to monitors in front of us which measured our effectiveness and efficiency for every compression and breath!
Each day our instructors stepped it up a gear or three, introducing us to defibrillation, oxygen administration, medical conditions and emergencies, how to recognise and deal with them effectively, choking management, primary and secondary surveys, bandage techniques, catastrophic bleeds and trauma care.
A special mention has to go to some of the instructors who went above and beyond portraying casualties in a live triage scenario covered in fake wounds and blood. Oscar worthy..ish!
On Wednesday night we had a surprise visit from the Station Managers who oversee our training. The tones rang across station turning us out the same way we will be doing when we get onto our stations for combination drills! Stealth mode or magic.. they appeared out of thin air!
Thursday we were put through our paces dealing with complex scenarios to tie all we'd learnt together to effectively deal with the casualties injuries, with Red Squad getting the chance to set up scenarios for each other too.
All I'll say is some people got very creative..
We ended the day with a major incident scenario which allowed us to utilise all of the essential life saving skills we had learnt through the week ready for our practical and written assessments on Friday.
Thursday night we had a visit from SM Dave Bristow and EMAS (East Midlands Ambulance Service) who spoke to us about the medical aspects of the service now, latest developments, what the future holds and the changing role of a firefighter to assist and work closely with other emergency services.
Friday morning means only one thing at the RITS (Recruits Initial Training School)....assessment day. Thankfully 'Super Reds' did well, all passing our written and practical IEC assessments! The week has certainly flown by - next it's week 10 and onto RTC.
Recruit FF Jonathan Ingram (Blue Squad)
This week saw us split back up into our two respective squads and head our separate ways once again. For Blue Squad it started with a trip to headquarters to make a start on our BA and CFBT course. With Red Squad telling us all about it in the previous few weeks, we were more than ready to get cracking!
Monday started with some introductory lectures and set familiarisation, before heading to the drill yard for the first exercise. Those of us who hadn’t worn BA previously were given the opportunity to get used to wearing BA prior to starting the exercise, a much needed nerve settler for some of us!
During this first exercise we experienced the dreaded ‘Smartie Tube’, a narrow tunnel we needed to make our way through whilst wearing our BA sets. This had been the hot topic of conversation leading up to the start of BA. Nevertheless, we all made it through in one piece, some easier than others, but we shall name no names!
Tuesday and it was straight back to HQ. This took on a similar structure to our previous day with more set familiarisation and lectures in the morning, followed by three different exercises in the afternoon; set removal, lost with a hose and use of an EASE pack. We left HQ at the end of the day ready to add some heat to the equation and make a start on CFBT!
Wednesday saw the start of our compartment fire behaviour training. Following some input on fire development in the morning, we donned our BA sets and spent the afternoon in the CFBT container observing the development of a fire. In the evening, the station managers made a surprise visit and put us through our paces with a large combination drill. Those who had earlier popped out to the shops did not escape the drilling, no matter how hard they tried!
Thursday and Friday the instructors ramped up the heat in our CFBT. We spent these two days continuing to learn about fire development and practise our branch techniques with high praise coming from the instructors stating that they were some of the best techniques they’ve seen. Blue Squad read between the lines and took it as an obvious message that we are continuing our superiority over Red Squad! [not actually proven - Ed]
Next week we might not be quite so cocky, as we head back to HQ to crank up BA training once more and FF Fuller will be keeping our blog up to date.
Week 8 (27 February - 3 March)
Recruit FF James Coleman (Blue Squad)
So this week has seen both Blue Squad (aka Hero squad) and the other squad (Red) back together. The week started with some theory on control operations and then we went into Fire Investigation. We even had a demo from the K9 Fire Dogs on Monday evening.
The next morning was a swimming session with Amelia which had us all wondering what we had done to upset her to make her be so tough on us! The evening consisted of Hero squad (Blue) visiting the Fire Service control room at headquarters. This enabled us to get a better idea of what happens when the public do call us for assistance.
Wednesday morning started with intensive PowerPoint sessions on various topics including Public Safety, then it was out in the drill yard to blow off some cobwebs and hone the skills learnt in weeks 1-3 with lots of combo drills. I also had the opportunity to meet the watch I will be joining in May.
Thursday was another full day of presentations. We then got wind that a lecture had been cancelled which had us all thinking we might just get a steady afternoon. How wrong we were when the PTI turned up and had us in our PT kit to complete our fitness tests. Luckily everyone passed, even our resident tennis star!
The week ended with even more PowerPoint lectures and some "ops flash" training followed by an exam to ensure all the hours and hours and hours had all sunk in. Overall, it was another very informative week and Hero squad (Blue) are looking forward to getting stuck into three weeks of BA whilst Red Squad attempt to get their heads around IEC.
Week 7 (20 - 24 February)
Recruit FF Tom Davies (Blue Squad)
Week seven saw Red Squad entering their final week of BA and preparing for their assessments. For Blue Squad it was a tough start to the week with our RTC written assessments first thing on Monday morning. This was felt by the squad as one of the toughest exams that we have done to date, but, with everyone passing with high marks, this put us all in a good mood and really looking forward to Swift Water Tech for the rest of the week. But before we could get on with that we had an afternoon learning about heavy rescues (HGV’s) and a clean-up of all the mangled cars from the previous week!
Tuesday was the start of our Water Rescue course which everyone was looking forward to - the only downside was a 2 ½ hour trip up to Tees Barrage. After a quick theory based morning, we were soon struggling to wrestle ourselves into our dry suits and get kitted up ready to go in to the water.
This was a basic session to let us get used to being in the water and practice various swimming techniques. After what seemed a very short time in the water, it was soon time to get changed and get back on the bus all the way to Immingham.
Wednesday was the start of the real fun with us all entering the white water course. We learnt how to manoeuvre ourselves in quick flowing water as well as how to avoid dangerous hazards that could very quickly see you in a bit of trouble. We then learnt rope rescue techniques with the odd 'dropped catch' which saw our 'casualties' fly down the course and over a rather large hydraulic!
On Thursday Red Squad had finished their BA Assessments and this was also FF Lakin’s 21st birthday (pictured with a mug of birthday tea). We all celebrated this as a group with Terry cooking us a very nice mixed grill and plenty of cake before heading out to the bright lights and lively atmosphere of Cleethorpes.
Friday brought the last day of our Water Rescue training. After a busy week, there were understandably a couple of snorers on the minibus as we made the long trip back from the North-East!
Next week sees both groups back together again as we will be going through Fire Investigation, Safeguarding and visiting control which FF Coleman will be telling you all about.
Recruit FF William Dodd (Red Squad)
Week seven was Red Squad’s final week of BA....thankfully! Although enjoyable, we’re glad that the smell of smoke will eventually leave us.
Monday consisted of a regular hot wear preparing us for our assessments on Tuesday and Wednesday. We all did well and it set us up for our assessments nicely.
Tuesday morning consisted of a written assessment, which we all passed comfortably. We also had a verbal description of our sets, ensuring we know exactly what clips we have on our set, so that our mind can be put at ease while we are pulling out casualties…everyone also successfully completed that. We then had a BA hot wear assessment in the afternoon, which everyone also did well at.
Wednesday was our final BA assessment day, we also had a go at responding to a job for real, synthetic smoke thankfully! But it gave us a good idea of what to expect…organised chaos! Everyone completed the day and are now qualified BA wearers.
Thursday was marine firefighting, we had theory in the morning and a synthetic smoke wear practicing our procedures before a hot wear in the afternoon.
Both teams’ hot wears went well, although my team was better according to the instructors! Not that we have mentioned it at all to the other team.
Following FF Lakin's 21st birthday celebrations on Thursday evening, Friday was a very enjoyable day of airport firefighting. We saw how different fuels behave and got to use foam whilst fighting fires and how to bend flames to turn off a valve engulfed in flames. Finally we finished the week with a synthetic smoke wear in a plane, search and rescue. Thankfully nobody got lost in the plane as they would probably never live it down.
Week 6 (13 - 17 February)
Recruit FF Liam Houlden (Blue Squad)
This week in Blue Squad we have been introduced to the world of road traffic collisions (RTC). This will allow us to put into practice all of our IEC training from the previous week. We started our week with some lectures about RTCs, the roles of the fire and rescue service at these types of incident and the interoperability between other agencies, not just ambulance and police.
Early in the week we were fully introduced to the concept of the six stages of an RTC and everyone was eager to start cutting up some cars! The extrication team were available to us for one of the days which was a great benefit to see what a team can accomplish when they work together.
Next came the fun part, using the various equipment used at RTCs - most of it pretty heavy! Once we had familiarized ourselves, we had to go through a list of scenarios that we could potentially come across, such as collisions where a car is on 4 wheels, a car on its roof, a car on its side, and even one car on top of another.
There isn’t as much running around like in our core skills week, but you certainly break a sweat with the heavy lifting as the PPE doesn’t allow the heat to escape too well.
By the Friday we were rolling up to mock incidents in the fire appliances not knowing what we would be faced with and dealing with it using skills we had built up through the week. Live casualties screaming in 'pain' added a lot of realism to the scenarios.
The course ended on Monday 20 February with a written exam and an afternoon familiarisation on HGV incidents. This means we are now approaching the half way point of the course and it seems to be accelerating as we move into Swift Water Rescue week which I think will be a personal highlight, and hope we will be as close to our watches as we are now with our squads.
Recruit FF William Dodd (Red Squad)
Following on from the last blog, we did receive our postings! Some happier than others at their stations, some stations have luckily got two recruits on the same watch, meaning double the biscuits! Regardless though, we’re all grateful to be here as we are the final 20 out of over 2000 applicants and the first recruits course for ten years…not that anyone’s mentioned it to us….!!!
Week six for Red Squad brought with it another week of BA, which includes the instructors driving/stalling the minibus with us all on to HQ every day. Monday included a morning of theory before practicing our BA Shuffle for the end of course night out. The afternoon was our hot wear, which I was thankful for as I needed to defrost after doing ECO for what felt like an eternity!
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed finally getting our teeth into proper BA search and rescue during a ‘hot wear’. The command unit from Brough visited us on the night time, insightful for us all and worthwhile visiting to allow us all an appreciation of the unit, but unfortunately they didn’t have the Sky Sports package to watch the Man City game!
Tuesday consisted of a hot wear in the morning, conditions significantly hotter than our previous hot wear which made it harder, but also enjoyable (especially the hose reel management, we all loved that!). We then spent an afternoon of theory, we covered a case study that really reiterated the importance of following our BA procedures.
Wednesday brought with it a proper hot wear, someone (yet to be identified) complained the wears weren’t hot enough! We paid for it in the afternoon, having to bring casualties out by going directly into and above the fire compartment (toasty!) radial cooling was finally used!
Thinking the ‘hot wears’ couldn’t get any worse, the instructors had more up their sleeves for Thursday. Descending from the second floor into the very, very hot heat layer to bring (many!) casualties back up the never ending staircase…and to add to it, half of us got to do it twice!
Friday involved a hot wear in the morning along with theory and an entanglement session in the afternoon. Some flew through and some seemed to aim for every possible wire that was there. Another week down for us all, nearly half way now!
Week 5 (6 - 10 February)
Recruit FF Nick Kingett (Blue Squad)
This week has seen our group of ten recruits in Blue Squad introduced to immediate emergency care (IEC) and trauma care. My fellow colleagues in Red Squad are continuing with their breathing apparatus course which will last a further two weeks.
The IEC course introduced us to casualty assessment, triage, trauma principles and management of injuries. The course was delivered via Powerpoint and practical hands on experience with techniques including: CPR and defibrillation, identification and stemming of catastrophic bleeds, choking management and primary and secondary surveys.
We had lots of hands on experience with instructors acting as casualties using tools and aids such as fake blood and fake wounds for us to gain valuable experience and create realistic injuries.
Morale is still high and we are working hard as a group and helping each other to revise and practice. There is a real emphasis on thorough patient assessment.
Ongoing life on station requires us to maintain the high standard that we achieved so far and the cleaning and maintenance is still a big part of our working day. Ultimately we are all still having lots of fun in a relaxed, productive working environment. I personally feel blessed to be part of the process. This week we found out where we are going to be stationed. Looking forward to the remaining training phases with RTC to follow next week.
Recruit FF William Dodd (Red Squad)
Week five is the start of our specialism weeks. Red and Blue Squads have been separated off to do different things: for Red its Breathing Apparatus (BA) training and for Blue it’s an ‘intensive’ week of IEC.
Red Squad set off apprehensively to HQ for our first day of BA training. We turned up and it’s a different atmosphere from sunny, warm Immingham! We had a morning of theory and familiarising ourselves with the BA sets whilst missing Terry’s bacon sandwiches!.
The afternoon consisted of going around the OTC and the dreaded Smartie tube! It's allegedly just two 'small' oil drums welded together, but it feels a lot longer than that! We all completed it and discovered just how dirty we’re going to be over the next few weeks - and there wasn’t even a fire lit!
Tuesday was another day at HQ, a morning of theory and an afternoon of exercises, including set removal, lost in smoke and using an EASE Pack. Still no flames or smoke to contend with and we also discovered who guzzles the most air and who can seemingly breathe through their backside!
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday consisted of Compartment Fire Behaviour Training, learning about fire development and behaviour before the BA course fully kicks off!
We started with sitting in a metal can and watching a fire develop and then progressed onto how to tackle the fire, with and without a door open. Each fire getting hotter as we went!
We all thoroughly enjoyed this and if we didn’t we’d be in the wrong job! We also learnt not to put our masks on too tightly as the heat combined with pulsating heads isn’t a brilliant feeling.
We find out our station placements today (Friday) allegedly, fingers crossed for us all!
Week 4 (30 January - 3 February)
Recruit FF Eleanor Westmancott
So after another ridiculously fast weekend, we're back to begin our first specialist training area - working at heights.
Day one is a longggggg day in the classroom, learning the ins and outs of safety with the no.1 rule being 'don’t fall', along with the names and uses of lots of new fancy pieces of equipment. Our brains may have been tired, but hopes of an early dinner were quickly out the window with a 7 mile run to welcome us back from the weekend. We just about survived the streets of Immingham, but there were lots of aching limbs on station!
The fun begins on day two when we start lowering each other over the edge of buildings to rescue dummies whilst suspended in surprisingly comfy harnesses.
Day three begins with a morning in the pool with many lengths of front crawl in prep for water rescue. When we get back, it's all systems go as the media and the Chief and many other important people are awaiting a performance drill of what we have learnt and interviews on how we're finding the course which brought a lot of excitement around the station.
As soon as the cameras are gone, it’s quickly back to work with different casualty carry downs, which meant getting very up close and personal with a dummy on a ladder and resulted in a lot of bruises.
After more combination drills and lectures including aggressive behaviour with some brilliant catwalk worthy demonstrations from a few of the boys, Friday quickly came around.
After another tiring week and the relief of another passed exam, it feels like everything is slowly starting to come together. Bring on a nice relaxing weekend and whatever lies in store for week five.
Recruit FF Lee Mart
Been introduced to working at height this week, performing ‘pick off’ rescues, working on roof ladders, casualty handling and carry downs on ladders and much more!
The Chair of the Fire Authority, the Chief Fire Officer and members of the press came to visit us here at Immingham on Wednesday and we put on a bit of a show for them with a combination drill, consisting of a bit of everything we had learnt up to that point.
Thankfully, all elements went extremely well, despite the pressure on us to perform in front of such a crowd so early on in our course. We even made ITV Calendar's evening news!
This week’s lectures have included aircraft and helicopter scenarios, dealing with aggressive behaviour and operational risk information.
Also we had an introduction to the HVP (High Volume Pump) from Beverley. After a busy five days, we were all pleased to pass our end of week assessments.
Next week Blue Squad are ready to get stuck in to IEC (Immediate Emergency Care), while Red Squad leave us to go to Service Headquarters in Hull to start their three days of breathing apparatus training!
Week 3 (23 -27 January)
Recruit FF Sophie Hedges
Back to the 'city lights' of Immingham and our weekday home. No time to relax, as we get straight back into our routines of ironing and bulling as we looked forward to the jam packed week that lay ahead of us. With lectures on silos, chimney fires, trenches and small gear, the midweek foam application practical that took us off site could not have come quick enough. Yes, it might have only been 200m down the road, but all 20 of us were like kids at Christmas.
Week three brought about a number of new tasks for some of us, as marching was introduced to the squad. Head up, chest out, arms straight and thumbs pointed an hour later we were starting to get the hang of it!
The turn out system was another added feature to this week. As the ‘bells’ sound, we rush from wherever we are in the station to our fire kit, get dressed and line up by our respective appliances as the Station Manager awaits with her stop watch. Ten weeks to perfect our response time before heading to station...phew!
At end of the week we were sat in silence in the classroom for our Friday exam, before being treated to external guests informing us on the Yorkshire water course and the effects our actions have on hydrants and water surges through the system. Ongo locksmiths then demonstrated how to effectively break and enter into a property without hammering in a composite door with a size 9 boot! 20 Yale locks later it was time for our practical exam. Luckily we all passed and could enjoy the weekend ahead.
Recruit FF Lee Mart
Enjoyed yet another busy week here!
Studying silos, sewers, salvage, chimney fires, trench collapses, foam and ways in which we protect the environment during our operations, and much, much more.
Again lots to take in and revise for the end of week exams, alongside practical exams based on all our basic fireground skills, from using pumps, learning to tie different knots and pitching ladders. Really looking forward to next week when we will be studying ‘working at height’.
Think the Fire Authority and press are coming over on Wednesday to see how we are all getting on and look at the new facilities here in Immingham.
Three weeks gone already… time is flying by! All looking forward to a well deserved rest at the weekend.
Week 2 (16-20 January)
Recruit FF Eleanor Westmancoat
Well, the weekend flew by insanely fast and, before we know it, we were back shining shoes and ironing creases ready to begin week two.
My brain is still frying from all the information of week one, but if we thought the work load was going to ease up, we couldn’t be more wrong! The early morning cleaning and standing outside in the ‘fresh’ Immingham air waiting for inspection is starting to become the normal start to a day.
The mornings in the classrooms are a real test of concentration as we learn the ins and outs of pumps and primers and dinnertimes are filled with questions flying across tables as we all try to absorb as much as possible with double exams on Friday looming over us.
If running around the drill yard and getting to grips with hoses and hydrants hadn’t got my brain in overdrive, a confined pitch (should be called 'confused pitch') with a 13.5m ladder certainly has. As the week progresses, I am still trying to suss a comfortable position for my bun in my helmet and getting used to the instant sweat that comes with doing the smallest of tasks in full fire kit. The more time I spend here, the more I realise just how much I have to learn and wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.
Week two has also brought with it the joyous challenge of not only learning how to tie lots of knots, but tieing knots whilst wearing chunky firefighter gloves! Turns out this is no easy task!
So with knots, ladders and assessments, our second week has definitely been jam packed, challenging and exhausting - but they did warn us on day one that it wasn’t going to be easy. After the relief and smiles as we passed our first exams we end week two on a high and are all excited for a well deserved weekend off and looking forward to whatever week three has in store!
Recruit FF Lee Mart
In to week two in sunny Immingham!
Much more practical drills to get stuck into this week, alongside many lectures with a huge amount to take in and revise for the end of week two exams. As a squad we’re better settled into our daily routines now and building great working relationships together. Everyone knows what they’ve got to do. Maintaining our high standards on the drill ground and in personal appearance with our kit.
We’ve had our first swimming lesson this week which was quite challenging for many of us, but all preparing us for our water rescue technician course in a few weeks time. We look forward to moving onto week three on a happy vibe, having all passed our first exams this week.
Can't wait to get stuck in to what next week brings!
Week 1 (9-13 January)
Recruit FF Lee Mart
Well what a first week it’s been! We are all finding our feet, but as a group we have started to work and live together extremely well. We have been already been split into two groups, Red and Blue, allowing rotation of exercises, lectures and duties when necessary.
Since arriving at the new training facility at Immingham West on Sunday 8 January, we have all been allocated our rooms in groups of four and been given specific duties that form part of our strict daily routine.
Up to now this has involved thoroughly cleaning all parts of the fire station, cleaning and maintaining fire appliances, washing / ironing / folding uniform and bedding and polishing shoes to a very high standard set by the course instructors. All this on top of many classroom lectures and physically demanding training exercises.
Monday was a long day, introducing ourselves to the group, meeting many of Humberside's senior officers and even getting the lowdown on the Service's social media policy!
It’s been a tough week for all of us, but we are feeling very fortunate to be here and putting 100% effort into all we do. It’s non-stop from the minute we wake up to the second our head touches the pillow at night. Bring on week two!
Recruit FF Sophie Hedges
Phew! First week over and done with! 219 miles away from rolling fields to the tarmac and smoke plumes of Immingham. Culture shock for sure. But once you put on an extra layer of clothing and get used to the fluffy smoke clouds, the apprehension dies down, taking the nerves with it.
I think it’s safe to say both Red and Blue Squads are settling in and getting into the swing of things. The day of a trainee firefighter starts with the sound of rumbling stomachs echoing around the station as we clean it, ensuring it is presentable for visiting guests. We are then rewarded with a hefty breakfast setting us up for the day of information ahead. Being the first week, we have had a large amount of admin to do before getting on to the practical element. Let’s face it - that’s why we are all really here!
The days have been long and tough, consisting of recalling old skills, like getting used to sitting in a classroom for long periods of time again and new ones...bulling shoes!? What does that even mean!?
We’ve chosen our wish list of stations, had information overload on pumps and primers, got dead arms from running out 70mm hose, had the strangest face mask fit tests and got our hands on some extinguishers to put out some real life orange flickery stuff.
Looking back over the week I realise I have good reason to be tired! But hey, what an achievement, five days in and the creases are forming in our ‘number 1’ shirts and trousers, we manage to successfully parade without smiling and the shine on our shoes is coming along (cotton wool, polish and nylon tights, who knew!?).
Suddenly the 12 weeks that lay out in front of us aren’t looking so daunting. Roll on week two.