Bridport firefighters invite you to a recruitment evening in the station (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)

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CAN you keep calm in an emergency, lift 35kg, run with a hose, think outside the box, relish a challenge and respond to a 999 call in four minutes?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions there are a bunch of firefighters who want to talk to you.

Bridport fire fighters are looking to recruit new members and at 7pm on Monday (August 21) are opening the fire station on Sea Road South for people to find out if they’ve got what it takes to become a member of the emergency service.

There will be plenty of opportunities to talk to crews on the night and look around the engines and equipment.

Fire station officer Nick Courtice said the sort of people – men or women – could be any age over 18, any height, should be reasonably fit and willing to undertake the training needed to meet the many and varied challenges faced by firefighters.

He said: “Obviously we are recruiting in Bridport but are also interested in people who might live in the areas of Charmouth, Lyme Regis and Beaminster.”

Recruits need to be able to get to the station within four minutes of a call but the commitment is they are on call for 120 hours a week, for which they are paid a retainer, with an hourly rate on top for drill night and incidents.

Mr Courtice said: “It is getting harder to recruit people because it is a commitment but it is a fulfilling job.”

New recruits spend two weeks at West Moors learning about the basics of using the equipment and studying how fire behaves, before continuing their training on weekly drill nights.

Then there are extra courses on using breathing apparatus, road traffic crashes and casualty care courses and eventually emergency response driver training.

Mr Courtice added: “After the initial two week course some discover they are not cut out for it or it is not what they expected, which is one of the reasons we are holding the recruitment night in the station.”

They hope to have some of the tests there too – recruits have to be be able to lift 35 kg above their heads, run out and in again with six lengths of hose in eight minutes and pass a treadmill test.

District Commander station manager Jason Rogers said under the Civil Contingencies Act Bridport firefighters are category 1 responders.

“Meaning we can deal with anything from a cat stuck up a tree, to a terrorist attack, to a major air or rail disaster, chemical leak or exposure, flooding, it is all part of the training.”

Mr Courtice added: “Enthusiasm, team work willingness to learn are all qualities they are going to need.

“As long as you can pass fitness test you no longer have to retire at 55.”

But he warns new team members it is not a case of if they see something they don’t like, but when.

But there is always help at hand to deal with the rougher side of the job based on the Royal Marines’ Trauma Risk Incident Management protocol.

He added: “Typically in Bridport we have 250 to 300 shouts a year it could be property fires, rtcs, animal rescues, chimney and thatch fires, cliff falls, you never now what it is going to be.”

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