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Gold standard celebrations to mark 50th anniversary

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating 50 years since the organisation first came together.The service was formed on 1 April, 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972; bringing together Stoke-on-Trent Fire Brigade, Burton-on-Trent Fire Brigade and Staffordshire Fire Brigade into a single organisation.The service will be celebrating with a series of events, sharing of memories and a challenge to raise £50,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity over the next 12 months.Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber, said: “This is a very special landmark year for the service as we look back over five decades and look forward to the next 50 years. We want to celebrate this milestone anniversary with our staff, former staff and the communities we so proudly serve.“During that time the service has changed massively; in 1974 we predominantly just fought fires. Fast forward 50 years and we’re an organisation that is supporting the NHS with various schemes, we’re improving the employment prospects for young people with our Princes Trust courses and we’re sitting at the heart of the communities we serve.“We’re also a different organisation now; in 1974 we had no female firefighters, whereas now we have women in our most senior roles and my predecessor was the first operational female Chief Fire Officer in the country. There is still more work to do but thankfully we are past the days when people were shocked to see a female firefighter.“We also now recognise the contributions of everyone within the organisation, to improving community outcomes through prevention, protection, response, and community engagement on a daily basis."Protection Manager Kelvin Knapper will be celebrating his 50th year with the service after joining as a trainee firefighter in 1974.Kelvin, who started his career at Burslem Fire Station, said: “It has changed massively. Not only in the range of incidents firefighters now attend, but the role has also changed over the years.

"It’s less about responding to incidents now and more about stopping those incidents happening in the first place by educating the public and businesses about the importance of fire safety.“We’re also much better prepared now should an incident occur and the advances in technology have ensured firefighters are much safer when responding to incidents. What hasn't changed is the camaraderie, skills and commitment of all the persons involved in Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.“It’s a fantastic organisation to work for, I wouldn’t still be here after 50 years if it wasn’t. For anyone who is after a career that is rewarding, offers variety and the opportunity to progress, I’d definitely look towards the fire and rescue service.”

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