TV documentary puts the focus on firefighters in the West Midlands

Firefighters based at Tenbury Wells and close to the Shropshire border were featured in a high profile TV documentary.

Station Commanders Simon Hawkins and Debs Davies, and Firefighter Leanne Player carrying out their roles. Picture courtesy BBC
Station Commanders Simon Hawkins and Debs Davies, and Firefighter Leanne Player carrying out their roles. Picture courtesy BBC

We are Firefighters on BBC One in the Midlands put the spotlight on Station Commanders Simon Hawkins and Debs Davies as well as Firefighter Leanne Player carrying out their roles.

Simon is Station Commander for Bromsgrove and Tenbury Stations, Leanne serves at Bromsgrove and Eardisley, and Debs is Station Commander for the North Herefordshire cluster at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire 7 Rescue Service.

Simon Hawkins. Picture courtesy BBC

They were joined on the programme, a part of the We Are England series by Group Commander Samantha Samuels of West Midlands Fire Service.

In an ‘action-packed’ half-hour, Simon, Leanne, Debs and Samantha threw a sharply focused spotlight on both their professional and family lives, providing a powerful and sometimes hard-hitting insight into life as a UK firefighter in the 21st century.

In true ‘fly-on-the-wall' style, the cameras followed them around through a wide range of activities and challenges, portraying their lives both on station and at home, and meeting their families and colleagues.

Viewers had the chance to follow a range of incidents from start to finish featuring all four, as the callouts came in, crews rapidly donned kit, deployed to the incidents both day and night and dealt professionally with whatever awaited them.

Simon was shown briefing and debriefing his team on station in his leadership role, Leanne was featured driving an appliance to a night-time call-out, Debs commented on the breadth of roles in modern firefighting, and Samantha was depicted coordinating an incident onsite.

Viewers also joined Simon, Leanne and Samantha in their homes to gain a true insight into family life for firefighters and the challenges and rewards along the way.

Leanne Player driving a fire appliance. Picture courtesy BBC

Simon and his wife, accompanied by their children, described the huge support he received from the service after losing a leg in a motorcycle accident, while Leanne was shown preparing a midnight meal for her crewmates as well as spending quality time with her partner.

Samantha, over in the West Midlands, referred to challenges she’d faced on her journey to becoming the first black female in the West Midlands service.

Area Commander Jon Butlin, assistant director for response at H&WFRS, said: “We are Firefighters was a fascinating and inspiring programme which really shed light on life as a modern firefighter.

“Whilst for us in the service this may all seem fairly routine, many viewers won’t understand the sheer scale of training and the numerous challenges that we face, and the potential impacts on our home lives.

“Simon, Leanne and Debs have been excellent ambassadors for HWRFS and have done the service proud, as has Samantha for her service.

“Making the programme has taken a lot of effort for all of them, which included several advance media interviews to bring in the viewers. I’d like to thank them and their families for the support they have given, as well as their colleagues who also featured.

“I should also acknowledge the support of the numerous colleagues who contributed to the programme, both those who had ‘walk on’ parts and the many others who helped with the logistics to achieve such a polished programme ‘on the night’ ”.

You can find out more about the programme at bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-63419919 and twitter.com/hwfire, and watch all of it on the iPlayer.

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