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Fire Cadets Thank Their Backers

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Fire cadets recently recruited to County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s (CDDFRS) latest venture for young people took part in a special event on Saturday (13 February).

The event was held to demonstrate and celebrate the achievements of the new Fire Cadets’ programme, which began at Darlington Fire Station in October. Family and friends were invited to watch the cadets in action and guests from organisations who have supported the scheme were warmly welcomed.

The programme is the fifth of its kind to have been established by CDDFRS; it has been supported by a number of local organisations and received £3,000 of funding from the police and crime commissioner’s office to get the project off the ground.

The cadets, who were recruited from Darlington schools in September, meet for training sessions at Darlington fire station each Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm.

With help from CRC Darlington probation services, who painted a former breathing apparatus classroom, furniture donated from the department for education and artwork provided by Princes Trust Darlington project the new cadets have a dedicated space to call ‘home’ within the fire station.

Fire Cadets and Young Firefighters Association groups are part of national organisations with branches across the country. Both groups give young people between the ages of 13 and 17 the opportunity to join a uniformed organisation based on the values and practices of the fire and rescue service. Drills and activities are organised each week by serving firefighters who volunteer to run groups in their own time. The emphasis is on developing confidence, team work and physical fitness in a fun, informal atmosphere. 

Keith Wanley, operations area manager for CDDFRS, said: “Consett Fire Station was the first within CDDFRS to set up a YFA group in 2004 and since then Seaham, High Handenhold and Peterlee Fire Stations have followed suit. Darlington is the first of our stations to use the cadet model. Membership of the Fire Cadets and YFA is well regarded by employers as a positive addition to any CV. CDDFRS also benefits enormously from running them; these young people form a dedicated pool of volunteers who are knowledgeable ambassadors for the fire and rescue service.”

The following is a list of just some of the contributions Fire Cadets and YFA members make to the service and their local community:

Supporting public events – such as open days at stations working alongside operational firefighters.

Helping to set-up realistic training scenarios.

Working in the community – for example, clearing snow from driveways and roads.

Taking safety messages and information about the fire service back into the community through friends and family.

Keith Wanley added: “The Fire Cadets' and YFA programmes can also be a step towards joining the retained duty service (RDS or part-time firefighters) of CDDFRS. At Seaham fire station, for example, of the 11 RDS firefighters currently serving, three have come through the YFA route. The RDS is an important element of the fire service especially in remote areas where we are unable to run whole-time stations 24/7. RDS firefighters provide vital operational cover for 15 of our 27 fire appliances across CDDFRS.”

Police and crime commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “This is an excellent scheme which supports young people to achieve new skills and opportunities. This event clearly recognises the tremendous amount of work that young people give to our communities.”

To find out more about the Fire Cadets’ programme at Darlington Fire Station or any of the schemes for young people run by CDDFRS, email crew manager Justin Parry Justin.parry@ddfire.gov.uk or assistant district manager Michael Stephens mstephen@ddfire.gov.uk for information.

Pictured: Fire cadet Brandon Futers is climbing high at Darlington Fire Station watched by fellow cadets (front row, from left) Maisie Elliott, Alfie Elliott, Kenton Dodsworth, Karl Dinsdale and (middle row, from left) Joe McDermott and Jack Hardy with instructors firefighter Lindsay Blake, Joanne Brenkley and crew manager Justin Parry. (Back row, from left) Inspector Sue Robinson, CDDFRS assistant district manager Michael Stephens, police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg, CDD Fire Authority chair Michele Hodgson, Darlington Mayoress and Mayor, Gill and Tom Nutt and CDDFRS area manager operations Keith Wanley.  

Posted on Monday 15th February 2016
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