WATCH: Training to be a firefighter; Cork City Fire Brigade recruit new members for first time in eight years 

WATCH: Training to be a firefighter; Cork City Fire Brigade recruit new members for first time in eight years 

Journalist Roisin Burke, The Echo, climbing a 13.5m ladder during a media induction and training day for future recruitment for Cork City Fire Brigade at Ballyvolane station.

HEAT, heights and hard work are all big parts of the working day in the fire service.

Cork City Fire Brigade is recruiting new members for the first time since 2012 and, in an effort to show interested parties what is involved, the fire service invited members of the media to try out some of the challenges that new recruits would face during training.

On behalf of The Echo, I stepped up to the plate, climbing a 13-metre ladder, crawling through tunnels in a smoky room, looking for a crying baby and dragging casualties at speed from one place to another.

The training is designed to expose and tackle any phobias or fears a trainee firefighter might have, such as claustrophobia or a fear of heights, as well as increasing levels of stress to analyse how people cope under pressure.

Journalist Roísín Burke, The Echo, making her way with a 'casualty' she retrieved out of a smoke filled confined space wearing a breathing apparatus.
Journalist Roísín Burke, The Echo, making her way with a 'casualty' she retrieved out of a smoke filled confined space wearing a breathing apparatus.

“On completion of the training, it is designed to check out the ability of the firefighter, one thing is claustrophobia, the other thing is the mental ability to take instruction and follow orders,” Second officer Victor Shine explained.

“Checking if they are afraid of heights, able to go up and down at a particular pace as well as taking instruction and listening to those around them.

“Other tests include carrying heavy objects over distance to check grip and perseverance.”

Journalists Roisin Burke, The Echo, (right) with Fiona O'Donovan, Red FM, (second right) and Fiona Corcoran, 96FM & C103, listening to Martin Coughlan, breathing apparatus officer, and Ger Ryan, third officer, brigade training.
Journalists Roisin Burke, The Echo, (right) with Fiona O'Donovan, Red FM, (second right) and Fiona Corcoran, 96FM & C103, listening to Martin Coughlan, breathing apparatus officer, and Ger Ryan, third officer, brigade training.

Mr Shine said the training can be challenging.

A fear of heights is obviously not ideal for a firefighter, but Station Officer at the training facility Irene Wallace said that it all about practice, procedures, routine and trusting the equipment.

Over 3,500 people have already applied for the positions, with thousands more expected to put themselves forward over the next few days, ahead of the closing date on Friday September 25.

Journalists Roisin Burke, The Echo, (centre) with Fiona O'Donovan, Red FM, (left) and Fiona Corcoran, 96FM & C103.
Journalists Roisin Burke, The Echo, (centre) with Fiona O'Donovan, Red FM, (left) and Fiona Corcoran, 96FM & C103.

Two hundred women are among the applications, but second officer Victor Shine said they would like to see more female applicants.

“We want females, we want diversity in the job and we want women to make the difference in our service.”

Mr Shine said currently there is only one woman in the Cork City Fire Brigade and they are pleading for women in the Cork city and county to apply to the fire service.

The second officer said they want the female perspective and opinion to be more prominent in the Brigade and said that women have a lot of traits and abilities that would be valued greatly within the service.

In terms of the characteristics that they will be looking for in their new recruits, Mr Shine said someone who is dedicated and hardworking is top of the list.

Journalist Roisin Burke, The Echo, climbing a 13.5m. ladder.
Journalist Roisin Burke, The Echo, climbing a 13.5m. ladder.

“We are looking for motivation, somebody who is driven, someone who will push and keep going even when they are tired,” he said.

Cork City Fire Brigade is taking 20 recruits initially, with another 10 potentially in the following year.

As well as this, another recruitment campaign will be commencing for Ballincollig Fire Service, once the city has completed its search.

Trainees will carry out training five days a week over 14 weeks, followed by a year of probation before becoming fully-fledged firefighters.

The application can be found online at www.corkcity.ie or you can also get the form by emailing recruitment@corkcity.ie.

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