Shropshire firefighters would not be able to save people from house fires and rescue victims trapped in wrecked cars without the ever important staff who work “behind the scenes,” warned the county’s fire chief.
Non-operational staff are a vital part in keeping Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service operating, Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond told retained firefighter recruits at their passing out parade.
Mr Raymond spoke out in answer to one critic who had accused the service of employing people “with silly names” who do “none jobs.”
“There is no back office and no none jobs. People do a vital job here and we all work together and need each other.”
He praised staff who worked together to support firefighters who saved a woman’s life when she was trapped in her burning Shrewsbury home this Summer. They ranged from those who kept fire hydrants working, to the mechanics who serviced fire appliances and equipment, and the admin staff who bought kit and equipment.
“Without all the people working behind them, they would not have been able to do that job,” said Mr Raymond as the latest 18 new recruits finished their basic training at the county’s fire training school in Telford.
“I pay tribute to the courage of the two firefighters who went into the burning house. They used all their training to make it upstairs and save the woman. They felt the fear but did it anyway and they will be given a Chief Officers’ commendation in October.”
He told recruits that Shropshire had one of the best fire services in the UK and despite the “uncertain” financial future ahead, they would all work together as a team to keep Shropshire people safe.
He told the new recruits: “The public love and trust you. You must work hard to earn that trust. You are never off duty.”
The fire chief praised county farmers from Prees and Baschurch, a Bishops Castle publican, Ellesmere milk machine manufacturer and an international supplier of medical and rescue equipment, from Telford, who were the latest employers to back the fire service by allowing their staff, who were retained firefighter recruits, to attend emergencies.
Employer Steve Bray and son Dan, a newly trained retained firefighter, are commended by Stuart West, chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority.
Councillor Stuart West, chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, said that they would not be able to operate a fire service without the support of employers who allowed their staff to leave “at a moment’s notice” to attend a public emergency.
Mr Steve Bray, managing director of SP Services, of Telford, whose son Dan (21) is a management trainee in the international supply firm as well as a newly trained retained firefighter, said they were both very pleased to support the fire service.