Richard retires after 24 years fighting fires

After 24 years of commitment and dedication to his community, Richard Cummings has retired from Preesall Fire station.

Wednesday, 25th February 2015, 8:00 am
From the left: FF Mike Hewitt, FF Stan Fausset, FF Richard Holden, FF Phil Martin, Richard Cummings, WM Mick Dawson, FF Misha Leskovetc, ACM Carl Fairbrother, FF Nick Webster.

Richard, 51 from Preesall, was a joinery manager when he started as a retained fire fighter at Preesall fire service at the age of 26 in 1991.

Born and bred in Preesall Richard dedicated his time to save lives and was at the back and call of his community any time his pager called. Dad of two Richard said: “Having lived in Preesall all my life I obviously always knew there was a fire station, and as a kid used to see the fire engines going out, as I lived pretty much opposite it.

“I just thought it looked interesting, so when I could I went round and had a chat and that was it really.

“There was lots of training to get in, quite a few tests and then once you pass you get put on a three year probation.

“I remember one of the first fires I went to was at the fun house on the Pleasure beach in 1991 when I think I had just finished my training.

“Being an on call fire fighter you could be anywhere when your pager goes off, you could be in bed or in the shower and you have four to five minutes to get to the station.

“You know there were those times when you had spent two hours cooking a Sunday dinner and you sit down to eat it and your pager goes off but you have to go.

Richard, who is now a full time estimator at Poulton-le-fylde, recalled how his employers were very supportive of his career in the fire service even though it was a big commitment.

Richard recalled: “When I first started out as a joinery manager my manager actually let me go out on calls in the day even though I was at work, so I still went out to fires.

“But In 2008 I went to Poulton as an estimator and couldn’t go out then because of the distance.

“If I could say anything it would be to employers to say if you have staff who are on call firemen let them go out.

“It’s a hard job and being on call is a big commitment but it is an honour.

“I think it takes a special person to become a fireman.

Looking back on his time as a firefighter Richard said his career highlight was receiving his long service medal for 20 years in service in 2011, and also getting a medal on the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee.

But obviously in Richard’s line of work with the good times there are also the bad which he said the crew got through together.

Richard said: “There are sad times which are hard as obviously having grown up in Preesall and knowing the community the down side is when someone you know has lost their lives, but you get through it as a crew together.

“There will be a lot of things that I miss like the station and the crew and some things I wont miss so much like being called out in the middle of the night but it’s been an honour to serve the community, that’s what it is all about.”