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High Sheriff of Derbyshire visits Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service was honoured to welcome William Burlington, the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, to the Service last week, when he paid us a visit to gain a greater understanding of our work.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive (CFO) Gavin Tomlinson welcomed the High Sheriff to the Service’s joint police and fire headquarters based in Ripley, giving an insight into the wide range of work carried out across the Service and in collaboration with partners.

Chief fire officer Gavin Tomlinson shaking hands with the High Sheriff

After meeting with the Chief and members of the Service’s Strategic Leadership Team, it was off to the Joint Training Centre (JTC).

Station Manager Colin Winterbottom was the High Sheriffs host at the JTC, where the first port of call was our XVR Virtual Reality training suite. The XVR system allows us to create virtual environments for incident command training for Firefighters and Officers, in a variety of fire and rescue scenarios. The High Sheriff was particularly interested in this system and was even open to the idea of us using his own residence, Chatsworth House, in a future virtual training scenario.

Moving through the JTC the High Sheriff was introduced to our latest Wholetime Trainee Firefighters from course 107 (the Service currently has both Wholetime and On-Call Firefighters in training). The trainees were learning about ‘Biker Down’, a road safety initiative delivered to bikers, in partnership with the police, which aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on Derbyshire’s roads.  Members of the Service’s prevention team were ensuring the trainees understood the importance of biker education and why, when you consider 40% of all road accidents are motorbike related, yet motorbikes only make up 1% of all road users, it is so important.

Next it was to breathing apparatus, more commonly referred to as BA, is the equipment worn by Firefighters to protect them from smoke inhalation.  The true realisation of what it means to be a Firefighter wearing BA came as the High Sheriff asked to be kitted up to experience the weight of the equipment and the impact on sight and sound. 

Speaking after his BA experience, the High Sheriff commented that it was truly humbling and “to everyone who has had to use this kit in an emergency situation, I salute you”.

High Sheriff trying on firefighters kit

Ascot Drive Fire Station was the final venue for the High Sheriffs visit. Accompanied by Group Manager Dean Gazzard, the High Sheriff met some of the Service’s control room operators who answer emergency calls for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He also had the chance to listen to some of the emergency calls received by the Service.

Next it was up, up and away as the High Sheriff got an aerial view of the city from the lofty heights of one of the Service’s Aerial Ladder Platforms (ALP).

High Sheriff on ALP being raised in the air

The ALP extends to 34ft high and to our surprise the High Sheriff was up for the challenge of a lift to the top. Taking full advantage of the clear skies, the High Sheriff signed off his visit with an eye watering video of his view as the ALP extended to its full height

It was a pleasure to host the High Sheriff and great to see the real passion and interest he had for our work to Make Derbyshire Safer Together.