A warm welcome was in store for the Mayor and Mayoress of the Ribble Valley, Coun. Michael and Mrs Janette Ranson, on their recent visit to Clitheroe Fire Station.
On arrival they were greeted by station manager Phil Whittaker, who then introduced them to the fire crews, including the longest serving member of the team, watch manager Dave McGrath.
Dave, who this year celebrates his 30th year at the station, showed the VIPs to the drill area where they met the firefighters, who demonstrated a variety of emergency exercises. They included pitching a ladder to the drill tower, rescuing from height, setting up a portable pump and water jet, kitting out in breathing apparatus and showing how to stabilise a building damaged by fire.
The firefighters chatted to their visitors about all aspects of the job – their length of time in service, what they do when they’re not out responding to a fire call and how they get called to an incident.
Clitheroe fire station covers the largest area in the county, if not the whole country, spanning from Barrow right across to Dunsop Bridge and Tosside. Firefighters have to live or work within five minutes of the station in order to meet required response times and be available whenever their pagers beep.
Dave McGrath commented: “Without the massive support we get from employers willing to let our firefighters respond to their pagers in work time in order to protect their communities, plus the support of their families and commitment from the firefighters themselves, including those who have their own businesses to run, we simply couldn’t keep the fire engine running 24/7.
“A measure of that commitment was demonstrated by one firefighter who found that he lived too far away to respond to an incident in time, so moved closer to enable him to join the team. After a while, he realised he wanted to respond even quicker and so moved house again to ensure he can better serve his community.”
l For more information on becoming a retained firefighter,