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New Recruits for Craven

19th June 2012

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service employs people from all different walks of life; firefighters Samantha Elliot, Andrew Probst and Andrew Johnson all recently passed their two-week training course and are now firefighters at Skipton and Grassington fire stations.

Samantha Elliot is now a part-time firefighter at Skipton fire station, she said: “I always wanted to be in the police force to be honest, but then I just decided I wanted to be a firefighter a couple of years ago, it’s just the buzz of doing something different and worthwhile; I feel like I’m actually doing something to help the local community rather than just sitting at home doing nothing.”

Samantha admits that her first drill night after finishing the course was “a bit weird”, but she said: “After my first proper call it’s all stuck in and I think I did really well.”

One of the things that Samantha enjoys so much about being a firefighter is the excitement, she said: “Every call is different and not knowing what the next job is going to be is really exciting.

I get treated like one of the lads, well, just like everybody else, and I expected that. I hurt my back one day on the training course and everybody helped me out, but they would do the same for anybody else and I’m glad to be treated like the rest of them.”

Samantha worked at Bizzie Lizzie’s fish and chip restaurant in Skipton, where she still works part-time.

Andrew Probst is 20 years old and is now a firefighter at Skipton, before joining the fire service, Andrew was in the fire cadets for six years.

Andrew said: “I always knew I wanted to do some sort of service, either in the armed forces or the emergency services, but I was never sure.”

After he finished school, Andrew received a BTEC in Public and Uniformed Services from Craven College, which he said: “Opened my eyes to all of my options, and once I finished in the cadets at 18 I knew I wanted to be a firefighter, so I waited a couple of years and then decided to join.”

After his first call out, Andrew said: “It’s a lot different to what I expected, some things are as I imagined but there’s some things you just can’t prepare for in training; when you’re on a real job you know that somebody’s life has just been ruined and you can’t prepare for those feelings in a training scenario.

But everyone just pulls together through it and all deals with it as a team.”

Andrew admits that his time spent as a fire cadet gave him an upper hand on the training course: “The skills I learned at cadets definitely helped me get through the course and helped me on the job too, and because I had more knowledge than most on the training course, I was able to help the others out and share my knowledge with them.

When I attended the first drill night, there weren’t any silly initiations or anything like that, I was just accepted straight into the group as one of them; they made jokes about me and I gave it straight back; it’s a really good laugh.”

Andrew Johnson is now a firefighter at Grassington fire station and has wanted to join the fire service for many years.

Andrew is originally from Camberley, but moved up to Grassington after winning a TV competition, he said: “There was a show on TV and the prize was a new cottage in Grassington, me and my girlfriend decided to apply but never expected to win, but we did!

The show caused some controversy with the locals and so I wanted to give something back to their community. During the show I had said that I wanted to be a firefighter and I saw a recruitment poster outside the fire station and thought ‘that’s perfect’, so that was it!”

In Camberley, Andrew tried to join the retained service for six years, but was unsuccessful because he lived outside the 1 mile radius of the fire station, but he is delighted to now be a retained firefighter in Grassington.

I’m just not the sort of person to have an office job, I need to be busy all the time doing something. Out of the three emergency services I think the fire service is more me, just because it’s more hands on and I think it’s the most challenging and dangerous, that’s just me. I absolutely loved the training as well!

Andrew recently attended his first job, he said: “I just wanted to get in and fight the fire, but I’m not fully qualified with the breathing apparatus yet so I couldn’t go in. It was quite frustrating and I can’t wait until I’m fully trained; I’ve booked myself on the necessary training courses in July.”

When he is not on a fire call, Andrew likes to keep himself busy juggling three other jobs including carpet cleaning, working behind a bar and being the local handyman around the village.

He said: “When I’m cleaning carpets, I work around the Harrogate area so I can’t be on call then, but when I work behind the bar my boss allows me to take my alerter with me so that I can go if there is a fire call, which is really good of him.”

After taking part in his first drill night since passing the course, Andrew said: “All the guys are fantastic and really helpful and welcoming, I’m really enjoying it.”

All three of the firefighters come from all different backgrounds and have different life experiences, but they all equally love their new jobs as on call firefighters and intend on staying with the Service for a long time.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are currently recruiting On Call (part-time) Firefighters, for more information visit


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