Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Peter Collins retires after 34 years of dedicated service
Axminster fire chief Peter Collins has hung up his helmet for the last time - 34 years after he first joined the emergency service.
Throughout that time - apart from sickness and holidays - he has been on standby to answer callouts for 163 hours a week, day and night.
Mr Collins has been station commander for the last 14 years and oversaw the introduction of the team’s highly valued ambulance co-responder service.
He was the officer in charge at the big River Cottage HQ fire, near Musbury, 18 months ago and during the spate of flooding in the Axe Valley last year he responded to 16 calls for help in a single day.
During his time as a retained firelighter Mr Collins has attended many traffic accidents and has been instrumental in introducing a successful road safety awareness education programme in conjunction with the Axe Valley Community College, aimed at educating young drivers.
As a highly skilled medical co-responder he has also provided important assistance to many patients, giving vital lifesaving support prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew.
Mr Collins said after more than three decades in the job, and having managed a highly dedicated team of professional fire-fighters, it was now time to give a bit of his time back to his family and friends.
He told The Herald: “The fire service is like an extension to your family, the friendships and camaraderie you experience has been fantastic. We work hard as a team and provide a dedicated emergency response for Axminster and the wider area. I am pleased to be leaving at a time when Axminster is about to have a brand new fire station and significant investment from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and am looking forward to spending more time with my wife and family. It is time I gave back to them some of the support they have given me over the years.”
He said the one thing he would not miss was being called out at 3am on a cold January morning.
Mr Collins’ retirement will be officially marked by the fire service next month.