The latest recruits for Hampshire’s fire and rescue teams have started their training following the largest ever spike in on-call trainees.
The 26 new team members began their eight-day course last week.
Previous intakes have on average had eight trainees but the spike in applications and record recruitment level comes after a high-profile six-month campaign.
The on-call trainees are learning ladder, hose and fire ground techniques and will do further training to add to their skills on a regular basis as well as attending weekly drill nights.
Academy station manager Jason Boh said: “These dedicated life-savers fit being a firefighter in between other jobs and family commitments and come from all walks of life.
“These people are part of the fabric that holds every fire service in the country together.”
The three women and 23 men will be providing vital cover across the county in 16 stations in areas including Basingstoke.
New trainee and fashion graduate Jo Gamblin, 40, from Droxford, decided to take the step after being a stay at home mum for the last 12 years.
She said: “I had never considered being a firefighter before.
“My children are proud of my new job and the on-call system works around the hours you can do.
“I would urge other ladies to look at the prospect of being a firefighter.”