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Essex County Fire and Rescue Service: New recruits needed for Stansted fire station



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Stansted's firefighters are looking to recruit new blood – and two of the crew's female members are urging others to consider the role.

Claire Harrington, 33, spent most of her childhood at the Chapel Hill station as her father, Paul, is watch manager. She is a full-time firefighter in Cambridge and crew manager of Stansted's part-time, retained team.

But with her father due to retire next year, along with the fellow crew manager Dave Morland, new members are needed to ensure the next generation of village firefighters.

Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230757)
Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230757)

"It's a really rewarding job and we're like a little family here. We have a bond with each other and are always laughing," said Claire.

"Everyone has a different background, everyone has a full-time job doing something else, so we all bring something unique.

"And because you're working in the village, people recognise you and talk to you but don't mind when you have to leave your basket of shopping in the middle of the store when you get a call!"

Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington and new recruit Lina Ednie (left). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230772)
Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington and new recruit Lina Ednie (left). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230772)

Claire has been a firefighter for seven years, but had to battle to get there.

"I was three when my dad started here so I literally spent my whole childhood playing here. I always knew I wanted to do it, but it took a long time as strength is a big part of the job. I just had to get fit enough to do it and build up my strength."

New recruits undergo two weeks' basic training, followed by 10 Wednesday evenings spent reinforcing what they have learned, before they are allowed to join the run. They then undergo a further two weeks' training using breathing apparatus, with the opportunity to take other courses along the way.

Stansted has a fire engine, foam machines and one of only two off-road vehicles in the county to serve the rural area.

Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230791)
Stansted Fire Station. Crew Commander Claire Harrington. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230791)

Crew members must live within five minutes of the station, and although they are 'part-time', Essex County Fire and Rescue Service says they are "trained and experienced people on the front line, saving lives".

"They have everyday lives and jobs, until the pager sounds – then they become professional firefighters."

Lina Ednie, originally from Greece, is proof that however busy your life, becoming a firefighter is possible.

Stansted Fire Station. New recruit Lina Ednie. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230769)
Stansted Fire Station. New recruit Lina Ednie. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (28230769)

The mother of five children, aged two to 17, who lives in Ugley, decided she wanted to help others.

"As a mother of five children I want to be a role model for them," she said. "The fire service is the best thing as I have the opportunity to grow with it and learn new skills.

"I feel like Superman because I am able to help my community."

Those interested in joining can pop into the station on Thursday evenings from 7pm to chat with the team, call 01376 576698 or visit www.join.essex-fire.gov.uk.



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