HOLSWORTHY Fire Station held an open evening for councillors, the Chamber of Commerce and local employers. The aim of the evening was to recognise a local employer for allowing fire fighters to attend incidents during working hours, to show the faciliti

HOLSWORTHY Fire Station held an open evening for councillors, the Chamber of Commerce and local employers. The aim of the evening was to recognise a local employer for allowing fire fighters to attend incidents during working hours, to show the facilities, equipment and capabilities of the station and raise the awareness of the challenges faced by the Service in recruiting new fire fighters. The evening also highlighted the benefits that the extra skills and experience that fire fighters can bring to local employers.The Holsworthy crew showed the visitors some of their specialist skills by simulating two scenarios. The first involved showing their capability to rescue people from heights using their newly acquired rope skills to rescue a child from a balcony. In the second demonstration the crew used their cutting equipment to release a casualty trapped in a car.But the role of the modern fire-fighter is not just about responding to emergencies; the visitors were also given information on proactive community safety initiatives including details on the free home safety visits carried out by personnel. Between April 2008 and March 2009, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service carried out more than 11,000 Free Home Safety Visits and fitted nearly 19,000 smoke alarms. The fire prevention work has resulted in not only a reduction in tragic loss of life and injuries but also shows an economic benefit - reducing loss of buildings, contents and disruption to normal life nationally estimated at between £1 and 2 billion.During a Free Home Safety Visit to your home a fire fighter will discuss appropriate fire safety advice, such as how to reduce the chance of a fire starting and how to plan an escape route should an emergency occur. They will also check if you have a working smoke alarm and, if not, fit one free of charge if appropriate. This service is FREE, and everyone is urged to use it.The visitors were also shown around an educational unit used for informing children of dangers within the home. The unit allows us to take a number of different safety messages out into the community and are an integral piece of equipment in educating children at key stages in their lives; each school receives a talk from a team of fire-fighters on an annual basis highlighting the dangers in certain areas within the home.A key aspect of the open evening was a presentation to J E Stacey & Co Ltd in recognition of the support it has given the Fire Service for more than half a century. Group Commander Neil Blackburn presented a commissioned plaque to Stacey's director, Mr John Addicott, in recognition of the company's commitment to the community by letting fire fighters respond to emergency incidents during working hours. The company currently allows Watch Manager Gary Allcorn and Firefighter Shawn Le-Roy to attend incidents. Group Commander Blackburn said: "This commitment to the community needs to be recognised. Without the assistance of local employers like J.E. Stacey and Co. Ltd we simply would not be able to provide a 24-hour emergency service in this area". Despite the support of employers like Stacey's, there have been occasions when the fire appliance could not respond to emergency calls due to the lack of fire fighters available in the area. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is still urgently seeking to recruit retained fire fighters who will be available for calls during the day time at Holsworthy. Fire fighter Dan Lewis has just joined the team at Holsworthy and had this to say about the job: "Joining Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is something I dreamed of as a young boy and was something I never thought I would be able to achieve, but here I am today enjoying the role as a retained fire fighter in Holsworthy. "From day one of joining the service I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The two-week training was held at Severn Park in Bristol over a period of two months. I then attended a two-day breathing apparatus course at Exeter. The level of tuition was exceptional and the staff were very helpful throughout. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about joining, I would say it's the best job I've ever had. I would like to thank everyone at Holsworthy fire station for all the help with my training and development."Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service would like to thank the individuals from the Council and Chamber of Commerce who attended and hopes to run similar evenings at other North Devon stations soon.Anyone interested in joining the team at Holsworthy should ring the Devon and Somerset recruitment line on (01392) 872331 to receive an application pack.To book a Home Safety Visit please call 0800 73 11 822 or book through http://www.fire.gov.uk/Home+safety/