NIFRS chief fire and rescue officer, Michael Graham, second from left, with Derry's newly-qualified firefighters, from left, Mark Mullan, James McMenamin and Paul Herron.
Three Derry men were among 29 trainee fire- fighters who recently graduated from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS).
Mark Mullan, James Mc- Menamin and Paul Herron will now begin their new careers as 'wholetime firefighters'.
The three were presented with their certificates and awards by newly appointed Minister of Health, Robin Swann, and Chief Fire and Rescue Officer (Interim) Michael Graham at a special graduation ceremony at NIFRS Learning and Develop- ment Centre, Belfast.
During their intensive trainee firefighter course, the new firefighters developed specialist knowledge and a wide range of practical skills, including tactical fire- fighting, breathing appa- ratus, road traffic collision and other rescue skills, as well as fire prevention and community safety training.
They are the first cohort of trainee firefighters to benefit from NIFRS’ new state-of- the-art tactical firefighting facility outside Cookstown, which improves how firefighters are trained, enhancing their own safety and the safety of the public.
Chief officer Michael Graham said: “I would like to warmly congratulate our 29 new firefighters on their achievement. This is a proud day for them, both personally and professionally.
“By completing our rigorous trainee firefighting course, our graduates have proven that they have the knowledge and practical skills necessary to be a modern day firefighter in an organisation that is changing and transforming, and from today they will take their place on a fire station, using those skills to help make people safer.
“When our graduates take up that place, they will be following in the long, proud tradition of all the firefighters who have come before them.
“Our equipment, our methods and the incidents we respond to have all changed since the foundation of the first fire brigades in Northern Ireland, but their commitment to serve our community is exactly the same commitment that has been present in every single Firefighter in our history.
“Firefighting is both a vocation and a way of life. Today’s graduates have chosen this career because they believe in serving our community and working with others to make Northern Ireland a safer place.”
He concluded: “These are the fundamental corner- stones upon which our service is built.
“I wish today’s graduates every success in what is a very challenging, exciting and rewarding career.”
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