Surrey Fire and Rescue Service on-call trainee firefighter Dave Newman is the first bone-anchored hearing aid in the UK to be worn by a firefighter.
Dave is currently participating in a modular firefighter training course. He has been backed up with high-risk drills this week to ensure he and many others like him can achieve their dream of becoming firefighters.
The tests were to ensure it is safe and well in extremely hot situations. Over the course of an hour, Dave entered the fire behavior training containers four times which recorded typical fire temperatures between 250 and 270 degrees at head height.
Lucie Attwood, Senior Health and Safety Advisor for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, supported the exercise, she said: ‘It was a high risk exercise but with the measures extra controls in place, I’m so glad it allowed Dave to continue in his new career with us, he didn’t report any tingling or any pain or discomfort throughout the exercise, he really enjoyed it and felt great throughout the exercise.
Fire Chief Steve Owen-Hughes said, “I’m very grateful to Lucie, Dave and the team who carried out this exercise. Not only does this mean we can accommodate Dave and others who may have the same hearing aid in the service, it is a breakthrough for all fire and rescue services in the UK.
“As an industry, we are all working hard to make our services more diverse and inclusive to better represent, communicate and engage with the people we serve, keeping them safe. It’s an example of how we can think and work outside the box to achieve this.
Dave said: “I hope this will encourage others living with unilateral disabilities or part of the diverse and underrepresented community to apply to join blue light services as I look forward to starting my new career.”
The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting on-call firefighters, visit their careers page here. The service is expected to open its doors to full-time recruits in the coming weeks. Follow the service on Facebook and Twitter for announcements.