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Recruits set hot pace in training

PUBLISHED: 14:44 20 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK trainee firefighters scooped the top three places in a Fire Service training course - with eight recruits set to start full time across the county today.

SUFFOLK trainee firefighters scooped the top three places in a Fire Service training course – with eight recruits set to start full time across the county today.

Recruits from a number of counties take up the intensive 14-week training course in Surrey, but it was Suffolk that came out on top, as firefighter Kevin Oxford scooped the top honours. It was also the

highest scoring course in

history.

Kevin, who worked as the retained sub-officer in charge at Hadleigh fire station, won a coveted silver axe. He also fought back from a rejection from Essex Fire and Rescue Service who turned him down because he has had an eye operation.

Graham Smith, assistant chief officer at Suffolk Fire Service, said: "I am both delighted and proud of the achievements of these recruits.

"The recruitment process for wholetime firefighters is an extended process aimed at selecting the best recruits

possible from an initial

application list that exceeded one thousand.

"The fact that all of these recruits completed their

training satisfactorily and that recruits from Suffolk took the top three places on the course, is an endorsement of that process."

The eight firefighters have been stationed to Suffolk's main stations at Colchester Road headquarters, Princes Street in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.

ACO Smith added that the selection process would

normally see around 1,000 applicants apply for a post, who are then put through a selection process.

"This involves a fitness test, practical tests such as hose running, ability range testing exercises and more.

"After that we are left with about 130 candidates who are then interviewed. There are also medicals and other

formalities to go through."

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