Video: Have you got what it takes to be a firefighter? We test our skills at Avon Fire recruitment day...

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:17 28 April 2017

Mercury reporter Eleanor Young with some of the team.

Mercury reporter Eleanor Young with some of the team.


A fire service has launched its first recruitment drive in more than eight years – and it is specifically targeting women and people from black, minority and ethnic backgrounds (BME).

Tina Bushell, Mandy Peskett and Kathlin Baty with visitors Megan Brunt and Bradley Maher.Tina Bushell, Mandy Peskett and Kathlin Baty with visitors Megan Brunt and Bradley Maher.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) revealed plans this week to recruit new full-time firefighters and is encouraging people from all walks of life to apply.

Reporter Ellie Young went along to one of the open events, at Weston Football Club in Winterstoke Road, to see if she has what it takes to be a firefighter.

The open days offer members of the public the opportunity to speak to firefighters who work within the service and to try out some drills in full uniform.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Simon Shilton said he hopes the events will raise awareness about the fire and rescue services as well as discover possible recruits to fill the 16 vacant positions.

He added: “We want to break down the perception people have about the service.

“Part of this campaign is about raising the awareness as a career for anybody, in particular the under-represented groups.”

Women and people from BME backgrounds make up less than five per cent of the firefighter total and AF&RS hope to change this during its latest recruitment drive.

ACFO Shilton said: “I think there is a perception that it may not be a job for them and that is what these open days are all about – it can be a job for anyone.

“If you think it is not for you, whether it is your gender or your race, it is about breaking down those misconceptions and those myths.”

There will be two more open days which will give people the opportunity to talk to the firefighters from AF&RS and try some of the drills.

The team will be at Bath City Football Club, in Twerton Park, from 10am to 7pm today (Friday) and they will be at St Werburgh’s Primary School, in James Street, at the same times tomorrow (Saturday).

To find out more about the application process, visit

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