Thirty-seven Fire Cadets from across Berkshire demonstrated their new skills at a Graduation Ceremony held at Newbury Fire Station on the evening of Wednesday, 5 July 2023.
Fire Cadets is a youth initiative programme run by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), and takes place at four fire stations across the County – Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Newbury, and Whitley Wood.
The scheme is open to young people aged between 12 and 16 years old and allows the Cadets to experience what it is like to be firefighter in today’s modern Service.
The courses are led by firefighters and members of RBFRS staff and volunteers who provide opportunities for young people to develop new life skills by taking part in fire and rescue service activities.
During the Graduation Ceremony, the cadets demonstrated a range of skills required to deal with several different emergency fire and rescue scenarios that fire crews are often required to attend in real life. The drills included a decontamination exercise, a house fire, a road traffic collision and a water rescue.
Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer for RBFRS, said: “Every year I look forward to this important event, and I’m delighted that we can celebrate the Fire Cadets achievements with the graduation ceremony.
“I’d like to congratulate each and every one of the cadets for successfully completing this course, and special praise goes to the four Cadet of the Year award winners. The Service is proud of you all, as I’m sure your families and loved ones are too.
“Finally, thank you to the staff and volunteers for all of their hard work behind the scenes. You give up your valuable time to act as role models for these young people and provide them with a positive and rewarding experience which I’m sure will remain with them for a very long time.”
The Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Jeff Brooks, who attended the Ceremony, said: “The Fire Cadets programme provides fun and inclusive opportunities for young people to reach their full potential, contributing to safer and healthier communities. It also provides an opportunity for young people to learn and develop skills such as self-reliance, leadership, and decision-making, alongside learning about fire safety and firefighter activities.
“Fire Cadets relies heavily on volunteers and in total it currently has around 200 units with 2,500 cadets and 800 instructors nationally. With support from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), this initiative is going from strength to strength each year, and is now recognised alongside other key uniformed youth organisations.”
Fire Cadets participate in practical and theoretical fire and rescue service activities, including hose drills, breathing apparatus procedures and fire safety awareness sessions. The programme is run throughout a full academic year during term time only.
Further information about Fire Cadets can be found here.