Top Shrewsbury firm gives unique aid to fire service

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor presents the awards to General Manager John Patterson (left) and Finance Director Paul Price with firefighters (left to right) Gary Kilroy, Kenton Cawley and Mark Jones.

Fire cover in Shrewsbury would suffer without the help of a leading county firm, it has been revealed.

Doncasters Aerospace Components is doing its bit to keep the fire service up to full strength in the town by allowing three of its staff – all retained firefighters - to down tools and leave work when an emergency call comes through.

Without their support the fire service in Shrewsbury would not be able to keep one of its three fire engines in circulation, said Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor.

At a special awards ceremony held at the company's Whitchurch Road HQ he presented the firm's manager with a plaque and certificate commemorating their support.

"I want to say a big thank you to Doncasters. Without you and your three staff we would not have a fire engine in Shrewsbury. We need at least five firefighters to run it and without the support of this valued company we would struggle to put it on the run."

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West said that Doncasters was a "unique" company as they were the only one in Shrewsbury to employ so many retained firefighters and also to allow them to respond when needed.

"We really thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without you we would have problems," he said.

General Manager John Patterson said: "I'm pleased these three are bringing a service to the community. They save people's lives. We are a multi national progressive company and want to support the local community."

They were not called out of work very often and took holidays to make up the time for training which the firm would reimburse, said Mr Patterson, whose company manufacture precision components for the Aerospace Industry and also specialise in the repair and overhaul of gas turbine engines.

Engineering Team leader Kenton Cawley (34), of Oak Drive Oswestry, has been a retained firefighter for five years while Gary Kilroy (38), a sheet metal worker, of Sundorne Crescent, Shrewsbury, joined up two years ago.

Colleague Mark Jones (46), of Leafields, Shrewsbury, with eight years service in the retained, urged more people to join. "If you really want to do it, you should try it. It is a commitment but it is very worthwhile and you get a lot in return."

Mark said he was now highly trained in first aid, health and safety and in carrying out risk assessments – all skills useful to an employer.

"A lot of employers think you are going to be off all the time but it's just not true. They need us all available so that there are six ready to turn out for an emergency whether it's a fire or a car crash."

Gary said: "I'm trained to carry out water rescues and river searches, to use breathing apparatus and we even went on a course to learn about animal rescues. We drill once a week and it's great."

Both Gary and Mark were on firefighting duty during the Summer floods in Yorkshire and Gloucestershire helping to pump water away from villages.

Kenton, who works as a retained firefighter in Oswestry during the night and Shrewsbury in daytime, said: "I do enjoy it, this gives you the opportunity to give something back to the community."

14th January, 2008