Category Archives: Salamander

Jo’s blog Salamander day one

Here we are 2014 Salamander and what a great day we have had. With a few new faces in the teams I was a little worried that the ones that had been before would take over, but no, they all fitted in as if they had done it all before. Everyone made friends and everyone was welcomed in. We say hello to Seamus, Sophie, Nicole, Charlie, & Louis as our new recruits.

Each team were given their colours, in Red Watch with Sean (Firefighter) in charge we have Jamie, Luke, Josiah, & Sophie with Alex (PCSO) & Katie, (Young Carer).

Green watch we have Fraser (Fire fighter) leading the way with Nicole, Louis, Lane and Myles and helping Ben (young Carer) and Cassey (PCSO).

White team Nev (Firefighter) is in charge with Charlie, Seamus, Michael and Sam and helping him is Cory (senior crew), & Tom (PCSO).

Blue team is Steve (Firefighter) Zachary, Rhys, Frazer and Oliver and giving a helping hand is Phil (Ambulance service)

We also have Abi (Ambulance service), Nicky and me Dave and Lee (Firefighters).

The man in charge is Mark Evans our Salamander Commander.

We start as always with a great breakfast and with eggs, sausages, beans, bacon, hash browns and toast we are all set up for the day! There were a lot of clean plates so they must have enjoyed it.

We start with the pole drop (yes my favourite) we were pleased to see that the lads that had done it before hadn’t lost the knack and were down the pole in no time, with Myles laughing all the way down and stopping for a photo ( well it was his birthday) it’s great to be back. There were only 3 that didn’t make it down first time but we know by the end of the week we will be there.

Out to the yard where we started today’s activities with team building games and a visit to the smoke house. I went in with white watch and I was impressed that no one panicked in the dark and all followed instructions well………until…….there was a fragrance that wasn’t smoke house!! The breakfast beans had got to one of the lads and a quick exit was needed.

The bench exercise had me in stitches today, you will see some pictures later, and it is the only time they can get away with hugging people. There was a very tender moment from Seamus and Michael that reduced us all to fits of laughter. I can also say that in a bicep challenge Nicky won hands down over me, again the photos will show you what I mean.

The blind leading the blind is a great challenge, where they lead each other through cones blindfolded, and using voices to guide their teams. A few cheating moments but team work here was great.

Each team had a look at the engines that are ready to go on call and the get to sit in, always a fun time. This time the white team were introduced to the axe, yes axe but don’t panic I counted fingers and toes as they left and all was good.

They are all ready now for dinner. Chicken, chips and salad and once again clean plates and the cries of “more please”.

Now ready for the next events we headed down to watch a couple DVD’s and a moment to reminisce Gangnam Style and a dance (becoming a tradition).

The next event is ladders and smoke house, pole and the fun bit of the hose. They all had a great go at the ladders with some going up in a flash and some needing a little more support but all having a go.

The hose was great, and thanks everyone my car is very clean now! Anyone wanting theirs  done need to park in the space I was in, but I’m not telling you where I was parked!

I didn’t see many of the pole drops this time, so Nicky will have to tell you about them, but from what she said everyone had a really good go at getting down this time.

Well it’s nearly time to go home, but one last surprise for Myles, as I said it is his birthday. So they sat him down in the yard and blindfolded him and he stretched out his arms to receive his birthday gift. Little did he know after we all sang he got a great soaking from two hoses!! He loved it and was laughing so much, a birthday memory he will not forget…..and wanted more.

See you all tomorrow. Night Night

Nicky’s blog Salamander day one

Nicky’s blog.

You would think that this year, being the 6th year, the Salamander course for our young people would start feeling like – “been there, done that” – but nothing could be further from the truth. This year, as you all know, is especially hard for me and my boys but, just to reassure every single one of you, it is exactly what we need. I need to keep busy and nothing gives me more pleasure than for me to see my boys having so much fun with their friends who also care so deeply about them too. Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you about our day.

An early start but everyone ready to go. First things first – time to get into their teams and start building their team spirit and identity.

Green Team

Nicole, Louis, Lane and Myles

Support staff – Ben – young carer, Cassey – PCSO

Firefighter – Fraser

Red Team

Jamie, Luke, Josiah and Sophie

Support Staff – Katie – young carer, Alex – PCSO

Fire fighter – Sean

White Team

Charlie, Seamus, Michael and Sam

Support staff – Cory – senior crew, Tom – PCSO

Firefighter – Nev

Blue Team

Zachary, Rhys, Frazer and Oliver

Support staff – Phil – Ambulance service

Firefighter- Steve


Abi – ambulance service, Jo and Nicky – you know us!!

Firefighters – Dave and Lee

Salamander Commander – Mark Evans

Not forgetting an afternoon visit from our Salamander friend Rachel – PCSO

Our first timers got to experience the Salamander breakfast for the first time. Louis gets the prize for the widest smile and most enthusiastic choice maker – “two of everything please!!” Sheila, our cook, is marvellous and excels herself each year with the “full English” which is guaranteed to set them up for a hard morning’s work if they don’t doze off first!

The pole drop comes next and nearly all succeeded with great enthusiasm. Three found the challenge just too much after that enormous breakfast but don’t discount them yet…it’s only 9.00am.

Now is the time to wander around the station getting familiar with the smoke house, the fire engines and the fire engines and the fire engines – the rain will stop in a minute wont it??

Nev introduced his team to the axe – yes, I did say the axe – they carry on the trucks. Quite impressive looking too and the lads really liked that bit.

The Red Team were first to go round the smoke house and timed their exit perfectly to fit in with the most torrential downpour but that is half the fun isn’t it? Well, not according to Blue team who decided that the bench team building exercise should take place under the canopy of the appliance bay and that Firefighter Dave had the biggest muscles so could fetch the bench all by himself as it is wet out there! Seamus and Michael shared a definite “moment” on the bench and it was so, so funny. The bench, for the uninitiated, is where they all stand on a bench and have to change places without falling off – the penalty? A run round the yard but it was tipping it down so no-one fell off!! Steve, I will not forget the quip about my age!! You are supposed to respect your elders!! Was going to say “and betters” but not true in this case…at the moment!

The other team building exercises were Shark Infested Custard – excessive cheating from Luke – and leading a blindfolded team round the cones – Frazer an example to all as the blindfolds ran out and he walked round with his eyes shut and no cheating – yes, Zac I could see you had one eye open and Jamie that you didn’t even try to keep yours shut!!

Can you believe that it is already dinner time? Chicken fillets, chips, salad and coleslaw. Vast amounts of food consumed, yet again, and then a fabulous chocolate cake, after a tuneless rendition of Happy Birthday, as today was Myles’s 20th birthday.

No pole drop now as it will be a separate activity this afternoon.

A little free time to watch some DVD clips. The first was of the Bradford City Football Stadium fire – lots of intelligent questions and comments – then clips from previous courses – nothing can match Gangnam Style for dance-ability though and the lot of them got up and joined in. The Travelling Wilbury’s had them dancing and screaming out names as their team mates appeared.

An afternoon experiencing ladders – excellent Rhys, to the top of the ladder and climbing over the top – hoses – Sophie, yes it is really, really funny soaking Katie…but not me, okay!! – and the pole drop – Nicole, who ran up to me tapped me on the shoulder and shouted “I did it, I did it”. This morning there was no way anyone was getting her to go down that pole so they sat her on top of the lockers and she leaned over and, well-supported, she dropped the final couple of feet thereby giving her the small amount of confidence boosting she required so that this afternoon she came down two poles with little support. She shuffled her bottom along till she got to the edge and, helped along, she descended the pole, twice. How proud was she?

Charlie also did the locker bit and managed the final couple of feet. Jamie managed the top pole but the bottom, more open, pole was too much of a challenge. He’ll get there though, if courage and determination have anything to do with it.

The day finished with Myles, blindfolded, sat on a chair and soaked by two hose reels to celebrate his birthday and…have you ever seen anyone enjoy a soaking more??

What a fabulous start to the week. If they are this good on day one, you are certainly in for a treat on Friday. Looking forward to another action packed day tomorrow.