THREE fire services are joining forces for the first time to run a joint training course for full-time firefighters.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with West Sussex and East Sussex services to run the course, which started on Monday.

Twenty-four recruits are taking part in the 13 week course to become wholetime community firefighters. Of theses, 12 are from Surrey, eight are from West Sussex, and four are from East Sussex.

They are being put through their paces at Surrey’s training centre Wray Park, with instructors from all three services as tutors.

Mark Arkwell, assistant chief fire officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We’re pleased to be joining forces with our partners in East and West Sussex to equip our latest recruits with the skills they need to be 21st century firefighters.

“They are learning how to keep themselves, their team-mates and Surrey residents safe, through protecting communities from incidents happening in the first place, as well as responding if they do.

“It’s just one part of the ongoing work we’re doing to recruit the firefighters we need and this collaborative approach helps us do that in an efficient and effective way.”

Marvin Smith, course commander and training delivery manager for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with our neighbouring services and I am very pleased that this programme will pool our skills and experience to help our new staff be the best they can be.

“Being a firefighter is not an easy role, but I am sure our recruits will rise to the challenge as we teach them a range of new skills.”

See for details.