Staffordshire’s new High Sheriff, Simon Clarke has spent the day training with firefighters at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s HQ today.
"I think people take for granted the dedicated service firefighters provide and to have an insight into what goes on behind the scenes has been enlightening."
High Sheriff Simon Clarke
Accompanied by wife Alex, Mr Clarke has attempted one of the rural activity national selection tests firefighters must undertake and pass, had to find his way out of the smoke house, tried on breathing apparatus and watched some of the current trainee firefighters undergoing their day-to-day training.
Speaking about his day Mr Clarke said: "As a member of the public, you just assume that firefighters will come when you need them, do their job, and that’s that. You have no real understanding of the skill and professionalism required in order to do the job.
"I think people take for granted the dedicated service firefighters provide and to have an insight into what goes on behind the scenes has been enlightening.
"The real eye-opening part of our day was experiencing the smoke house. It was filled with artificial smoke but it was unbelievable how quickly the smoke fills the room you’re in and it doesn’t take long before you can barely see – and that wasn’t even as thick as the smoke gets!
"We lost all perception of how big the room we were in was and quickly became disorientated, it really makes you appreciate what a difficult job firefighting is and the skill required to do it.
"I’ve been put through my paces today but it’s been great, my wife has had a great day as well and all the personnel who’ve been involved at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been brilliant."