POTENTIAL firefighters were put through their paces as they learnt the skills required to respond to real-life emergencies.

A dozen members of the public were tested to their limits at Chipping Norton Fire Station's Have a Go Day on Sunday, which gave people an insight into becoming an on-call firefighter.

During the gruelling six-hour day, potential new recruits climbed ladders, used the rolling out hose and simulated wearing breathing apparatus.

They could now join Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and be deployed for real emergencies.

Witney Gazette:

It is a big responsibility, but Paul Bremble, the service's strategic risk and assurance manager, insisted anyone can take on the role.

He said: "Our on-call firefighters come from every walk of life - we have on-call firefighters who are self-employed, work from home and parents with children at school.

"There are also shopkeepers, builders, plumbers, office workers and people who are not currently employed.

"As on-call firefighters, they learn a whole range of new skills that would equip them to support their community."

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New recruits need to tick some boxes, as they must be over 18, live or work within five minutes of a recruiting fire station and be able to respond at a moment's notice.

The role is primarily to provide fire cover by responding at the fire station when needed at times of emergencies.

The daring dozen arrived at the station at 9am to get kitted up and were not deterred by the snow yet to thaw in the areas around the station.

Witney Gazette:

Firefighters must be physically fit to respond to emergencies and there was plenty of heavy lifting during the day.

Recruits were also up and down ladders to simulate responding to incidents in tall buildings.

Recent fires in the area include a bin lorry blaze on London Road, Chipping Norton, in September, which shut part of the A44.

In August, staff had to be evacuated after machinery caught fire at FWP Matthews Flour Millers in Station Road, Shipton under Wychwood.

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Fire crews from Burford, Chipping Norton, and Witney were called to the scene when a shrink-wrapping machine caught fire.

To find out more, contact watch manager David Cuthbert on david.cuthbert@oxfordshire.gov.uk