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UK’s first firefighter wearing a bone anchored hearing aid joins Surrey Fire and Rescue Service

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s On-call Trainee Firefighter Dave Newman is the UK’s first bone anchored hearing aid wearing firefighter.

Dave is currently taking part in a modular firefighter training course. He has been supported through some high-risk exercises this week to ensure he, and many others like him, can fulfil their dreams of becoming firefighters.

The tests were to ensure he is safe and well whilst in extremely hot situations. Over the course of an hour Dave entered the fire behaviour training containers four times which were recording typical fire temperatures of between 250 and 270 degrees at head height.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s Senior Health and Safety Advisor, Lucie Attwood supported the exercise, she said: “This was a high-risk exercise, but with the additional control measures in place I’m delighted that it has enabled Dave to continue in his new career with us. He reported no tingling nor any pain or discomfort throughout the exercise, he thoroughly enjoyed it and felt fine throughout.”

Chief Fire Officer, Steve Owen-Hughes, said: “I am so thankful to Lucie, Dave and the team who conducted this exercise. Not only does it mean that we can welcome Dave and others who may have the same hearing aid into the service, it’s a breakthrough for all UK Fire and Rescue Services.

“As an industry, we’re all working hard to make our services more diverse and inclusive so that we can better represent, communicate and engage with the people who we serve – therefore keeping them safe. This is an example of how we can think and work outside of the box to achieve this.”

Dave said: “I hope this encourages other people who are living with single sided impairment or are part of the diverse and underrepresented community to apply to join blue light services because I am thoroughly looking forward to my new career.”

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting on-call firefighters, visit their careers page here. The service is due to open their doors for wholetime recruits in the coming weeks. Follow the service on Facebook and Twitter for announcements.

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