Chief Fire Officer and VIPs watch parade and display by new cadet branch

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New Fire Cadets displayed their skills before a group of VIPs at the launch of their unit.

The Luton branch of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (BFRS) Fire Cadets was officially launched on Tuesday, June 23 at Luton Community Fire Station, Studley Road, Luton.

Bedfordshire Fire Cadets paraded and displayed their new skills in front of Chief Fire Officer, Paul Fuller and other guests including Helen Nellis, the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Lady Erroll, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Cllr Dave Taylor the Mayor of Luton, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Collins and Cllr David McVicar, chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority and Members of the FRA.

BFRS started recruiting Fire Cadets in March and have attracted a mixed group of 14 cadets made up of teenage boys and girls aged between 14 and 17 from diverse backgrounds reflecting Luton’s own mix of communities.

Part of a national scheme, Fire Cadets learn the basic skills of a firefighter, such as using fire hoses, while taking part in a wide range of other activities in and around their local fire station. Cadets also have the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications and awards including BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh awards.

The Luton Cadets have only been drilling for four weeks but already they are keen to start a BTEC in September in the nationally recognised qualification Fire and Rescue Services in the Community.

Fire Cadets meet every Tuesday evening at 7pm for two hours at Luton and Sandy Fire Stations. Groups for Leighton Buzzard and Kempston will be launched in September.

Fire cadets are treated as a young firefighter with their own uniform and expected to show a certain amount of discipline and commitment, just like a firefighter. They attend a weekly drill night at their local fire station and are taught many of the skills a fulltime firefighter needs as well as first aid.

Earlier in the year Connor Walker, 17, from Potton became Bedfordshire’s first Lord Lieutenant’s Fire Cadet and accompanies her on official visits. Connor had been a member of BFRS’s Fire Cadet scheme at Sandy for three years.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller said: “Young cadets gain an excellent knowledge of the Fire and Rescue Service as they learn the skills that full-tile firefighters need to get their job done. Like firefighters they also have an important role to play giving time to local community initiatives and working on their own skills through local and national challenges and competitions.

“Luton Fire Cadets will be one of four groups we hope to have regular meetings in Bedfordshire. Sandy Fire Cadet Units is already up and running and hope to have Leighton Buzzard and Kempston starting in the new school year.

“Becoming a Fire Cadet gives young people a chance to train with working Firefighters, providing an exciting and unique insight into what modern Firefighting is all about. It is also an opportunity to develop both personal and social skills by promoting self-discipline, team work and citizenship.

“Our cadet groups play an important role in the community with cadets helping fit smoke alarms and supporting other local initiatives such as delivering advice on home fire safety, water safety, road safety and arson prevention to their own communities. There are also opportunities during weekends and school holidays to take part in outdoor activities, camps and social trips and work towards a number of awards while having fun and making new friends.”

If you are aged between 14 and 17 and want to become a fire cadet or want to get involved as volunteer staff please contact Pete Buckingham or Lewis Clifford via or call (01234) 845000.