Short on staff but not courage.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

BANBRIDGE firefighters have been recognised for their dedication to serving the community despite workplace challenges.

With the retirement of several key members of the team the Banbridge station is currently understaffed, according to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS).

However, response to a recent recruitment drive has been positive and the new starts will join early next year.

But the challenges haven't affected the enthusiasm and dedicated of the team. The Banbridge station was highly commended at the NIFRS Employee Awards last Tuesday (21 November). It had been nominated in the category 'Operational Performance Award - Retained Station'.

"As a part-time station, Banbridge is crewed by part-time firefighters who also have other jobs within their community but who respond to fires, road traffic collisions and other emergencies within their station area. The firefighters at Banbridge Station operate two fire appliances to cover a busy urban and rural catchment area, which includes the A1 dual carriageway.

"Due to recent retirements, Banbridge has been operating with reduced personnel while the recruitment process to appoint new firefighters to the station is ongoing. NIFRS plans to appoint new firefighters to the station in early 2018 following completion of the recruitment process.

"Banbridge firefighters were nominated for an employee award for their commitment to protecting their local community by responding to a wide range of 999 calls and for the team spirit they display on a daily basis," said a NIFRS spokesperson.

A total of 48 operational personnel from across the service were also eligible to receive their 20-year long service and good conduct medal including Robert Stewart from Rathfriland Station.

Other awards presented on the night included five prestigious Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Commendations which included one to Red Watch Newry for a house fire rescue.

Gary Thompson, chief fire and rescue officer, said: "I congratulate them on their success and thank them for the dedicated years of service they have given."


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