The safety of residents in Weardale has been given a triple boost with two new tri-responder recruits.
Chris Elms and Jamie Clarkson are the latest to pass the vigorous programme which now allows them to respond to 999 calls on behalf of Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) and the North East Ambulance Service.
Chris and Jamie are the latest tri-responders since the scheme was launched in 2015 and said they are both passionate about helping their local communities.
Jamie, 27, has served as an on-call fire firefighter in Crook for the last two years and also has a background in fitness.
“When I first joined the fire service, I saw one of the responders and knew straight away that that’s what I would love to do someday.
“It still doesn’t feel real.”
Chris is the first recruit to come from a police background after serving as a PCSO for eight years.
The 33-year-old was third time lucky with his application but said it was worth the wait.
He said: “I have been a PCSO in Weardale for three years which I love, but I’m looking forward to concentrating on the education side of safety and working with youngsters as we can go into schools with three different hats on and three different lessons.”
Jamie and Chris were interviewed in February and started in their new roles on July 1 although they are not expected to be fully operational for some months while they complete several training courses with each service.
They will be based out of Stanhope Police Station and will serve the communities of Weardale, particularly concentrating on delivering safety messages and practical sessions, including CPR training and defibrillator training.
Sergeant Simon Rogers of Barnard Castle and Crook Neighbourhood Policing Team and CDDFRS’s District Manager Chris Williams conducted interviews for the two prized places.
Sgt Rogers said:
“There’s significant training and investment that goes into the role so Weardale can benefit and we are really happy with our latest recruits.
“The process is vigorous so Chris and Jamie have been put through their
paces for at least eight months and they will be invaluable as community safety responders especially with their extra skills.”
District Manager Williams said:
“These roles are really innovative and an effective way of delivering emergency services to the community.
“They are going to enhance the emergency response provision already in place and are an excellent opportunity for all three services to work together to continue to provide high-quality services for Weardale.”