Jo’s Salamander Blog – Day 1

Jo’s Blog Day 1

And here we are 2016 Salamander, where does the time go? The best week of the year is here again. The day goes so quickly but we manage to pack so much in to it.

This year we have three teams and they are all excited to get started. It’s good to see everyone and we welcome Marcello to the course.

Green Team

Nicole, Josiah, Seamus, Lane and Michael

Support staff – Ben – young carer, Jules – PCSO

Firefighter – Liam

Red Team

Oliver, Sophie, Zac, Ryan and Marcello

Support Staff – Ellie – young carer, George –Senior Crew, Phil – Forensic Paramedic with Gloucestershire Police.

Fire fighter – Steve

Blue Team

Sam, Myles, Charlie, Callum and Jamie

Support staff – Abi – Advanced Ambulance Practitioner with SWAST, Carlos – Senior Crew and Phil – PCSO

Firefighter- Sean

Our main team this year is as always, Mark, Fraser and Nicky who are looking after everyone. Fraser is on camera duty, tacking pictures and putting all the new gadgets to use ready for his famous DVD’s. Some of you may have noticed you don’t see Nicky in the morning. That’s because she is slaving over a hot stove upstairs getting our breakfast ready.

We also have Luke in a senior crew role this year.

We start with our famous breakfast, sausage, bacon, hash browns, egg, baked beans and toast and wow this bunch has a large appetite! Hopefully they will work it off throughout the day.

Tables are set and juice is poured………silence!! Just the sound of eating (and the odd belch.)



After they finish, plates are cleared and tables cleaned before the pole drop. The excitement rises as the doors are opened and that’s just me! They all line up ready and one by one they achieve the drop. Only a couple of nervous people this year and I am sure by the end of the week they will achieve it.

Now it’s time to head over to the classroom and get ready in the teams to look around and familiarise themselves with the station. Each team are shown the engines and the equipment that is carried. Myles show’s his strength with holding the large cutters. They will get to put those into use by the end of the week.

The teams have a look around the smoke house. This time the windows are open and the lights are on. They have a good look round so they can try and remember where everything is so not to get lost when they go in, in the dark. Just hope they are not following Nicky for this as she gets lost in here very easily!!

Now to get into kit and a spot of drill before they head for more activities. Though most have done this before, it is still interesting watching as they get to know it all over again. The “Shark infested custard” has a new twist this year with carrying the bucket under a bar. Good teamwork.

The blindfold is still a challenge, the urge to cheat……mentioning no names, is still there. Even with t-shirts over heads there is a degree of cheating and giggling.

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The benches are tackled with some dignity as they hug each other. Trying to get across to the other side without falling off is good fun and really builds the team.

Dinner time……All upstairs for delicious pasta bolognaise and salad. Again laughing and chattering is silenced by food. Clean plates and once again after they tidy up it’s down the pole. Only one person this time didn’t manage it but it will happen before the end of the week.

Back downstairs they all get into kit for the new challenges to begin. There were ladders, hose and smoke house (this time in the dark). Each team had a go at the three activities. Now I would like to say that the Fire crew set a good example to our young people! But Fraser and Nicky were caught kicking water at each other!! Now who needs supervising?

I’m now looking forward to tomorrow where the fun will continue and new achievements will be gained.

Good night all, sleep well as I know I will….!

See all the day’s photos in our gallery here