Potential firefighters put through paces

WOULD-BE firefighters were put through their paces at Ipswich fire station today to test their firefighting capabilities.More than 100 candidates attended the training session in Colchester Road and were tested on their ability to work in confined spaces, at height and at speed.

WOULD-BE firefighters were put through their paces at Ipswich fire station today to test their firefighting capabilities.

More than 100 candidates attended the training session in Colchester Road and were tested on their ability to work in confined spaces, at height and at speed.

The exercises included climbing a ladder, travelling through a confined space while wearing breathing apparatus and unravelling a hose and rolling it up.

The candidates, who have already passed a written exam to get to this stage, would automatically fail if they did not complete each task. If they passed, they would receive an interview to become one of 20 new recruits being taken on by Suffolk Fire Service.


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The three-day training course was being run in partnership with the Suffolk Employment Agency, who provided administrative assistance.

Divisional Officer Mark Sanderson said: "This process has been developed in recent years to make it fairer for the candidates taking part. There used to be a gap of 18 months between application and interview, but we have now cut it to three months."

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"We are committed to increasing the diversity of our work force so we can represent the communities that we serve."

David Shackleton, 29, of Mannall Walk, Kesgrave, was among the candidates.

He said: "It is something that I have always fancied doing, but I made my mind up to do it when I was made redundant in March. I just think it would be a very rewarding and varied job."

Tina Ratchinsky, 37, from Lowestoft, said: "I find the idea of being a firefighter very exciting and I like to help people. It is a great training course, but it is hard work. The hose test has been the most physically demanding."

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