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Meet Trainee Wholetime Firefighter Tom Rawden

At age 14, Tom joined DFRS as a Fire Cadet and set his sights on a role as a Firefighter. Now in training, Tom lets us know how his first week matched up to his expectations.

About Me

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a Firefighter, which was reinforced from my time as a Fire Cadet. I can’t pinpoint exactly what attracted me to the role, but the unpredictability of no two days being the same and the opportunity to help people, to be there for someone at what is likely a traumatic event, appealed to me.

Before starting my training I studied for my A-Levels and was working two part time jobs; a Camera Operator for Meadows Productions and a Goalkeeping Coach at GKU Goalkeeping. While the selection process is very competitive, if you prepare well, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful.

Week 1 - Protection

The first week of training was very busy; initially covering introductory information about the Service, Fire and Rescue legislation, followed by an overview of our 16 week training course.

We were working closely with the Protection team, learning all about building construction, the materials used and the potential hazard they could become in the event of a fire. On the topic of structures we looked into building collapse, how to identify potential structure failure and how the means of escape differs with different building types.

Towards the end of the week we focussed on SSRI inspections, or Site Specific Risk Information. We carried out an exercise, simulating a scenario at a typical Derbyshire business where we had to identify hazards whilst communicating effectively with the business owner. Putting this into practise, on Friday we went off site to Derby City Centre and applied our newfound knowledge to various buildings in the city.

To begin with I found the theory quite tricky to absorb, but the more I got involved with practical examples of the theory, the easier it became to understand how it links into the role of an operational Firefighter. Participating in practical learning allowed me to better digest the information I’d been given at the beginning of the week.

Overall it’s been a very enjoyable week which has set the foundations for a challenging but very rewarding course.