Mid Sussex welcomes new retained firefighters

Retained firefighters from both county fire services.
Retained firefighters from both county fire services.

Four new retained firefighters have been welcomed in Mid Sussex.

Bianca Kelly-Marques and Philip Carter have joined the team operating out of Haywards Heath Fire Station whilst Jonathan Parkhurst and Jonathan Taylor have joined retained crews at Burgess Hill and Turners Hill respectively.

Retained firefighter Jonathan Taylor

Retained firefighter Jonathan Taylor

The four are part of a group of ten new recruits who completed their pass out at Worthing Fire Station on Friday September 18.

As well as those based in Mid Sussex Ollie Dennis and Liam Dreckmann have joined the team at Midhurst Fire Station and four recruits from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have also joined their respective crews in the east.

The new firefighters were presented with their certificates by deputy chief fire officer for West Sussex Lee Neale.

He said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome our new recruits into the team. Being a retained firefighter is a demanding but highly rewarding job that requires a high level of commitment and personal discipline. I am confident our new firefighters will be a real asset to their respective fire stations and local communities.”

Retained firefighter Philip Carter

Retained firefighter Philip Carter

Retained firefighters are ‘on call’ for the fire service, meaning they are usually employed elsewhere or are at home when they receive a pager alert, but are ready to spring into immediate action to deal with a 999 incident.

Retained firefighters fully crew 14 of the 25 fire stations in West Sussex and are vital to the delivery of the county’s fire and rescue service.

They receive regular training in firefighting, rescue and extrication techniques equipping them with the skills to deal with fires, road traffic accidents and a wide range of other emergencies, enabling them to save lives in their local community.

Mr Neale said: “Attracting new retained firefighters is an on-going challenge both here in West Sussex and nationally. We still need firefighters at other retained fire stations around the county and would welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Retained firefighter Bianca Kelly-Marques

Retained firefighter Bianca Kelly-Marques

“The retained duty system relies on the support of local employers who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents. Of course, there are benefits to the employer as well - retained firefighters learn new skills, like first aid and LGV driving, which they may be able to use in their full time jobs as well.”

For more information about becoming a retained firefighter call 01243 642134 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

Retained firefighter Jonathan Parkhurst

Retained firefighter Jonathan Parkhurst