Wednesday 22 January 2020

Friends and colleagues mark Tony's retirement

Fireman Tony Black, centre front row, with his colleagues from Bunclody Fire Station at his
retirement party in Bunclody Golf Club
Fireman Tony Black, centre front row, with his colleagues from Bunclody Fire Station at his retirement party in Bunclody Golf Club

Brendan Keane

Family members, friends and colleagues from the fire service gathered together recently in Bunclody Golf Club to mark the retirement of local fire-fighter, Tony Black.

Tony, who lives in Bunclody, called time on his career after spending over 26 years helping to save lives and property across the county.

Speaking to this newspaper about his career Tony said a lot of changes have taken place since he first entered the service.

'There have been a lot of improvements in terms of equipment and appliances,' he said.

'The equipment has got a lot better and also training has improved a lot and even the stations themselves have improved too,' he added.

'I suppose it's gone much more professional nowadays than what it used to be.'

Obviously, given the nature of the job the satisfaction that fire-fighters get from saving lives is immeasurable but highlighting one particular incident Tony said it involved a young student whose car was hit by a bus in Bunclody leaving her pinned in her vehicle for over two hours.

'It took about two-and-a-half hours to get her out and she had to be airlifted to hospital but thankfully she made a good recovery and is now back in college again which is great,' said Tony.

'You could go to chimney fires 10 days in a row and they'll be relatively similar but with RTCs (road traffic collisions) no two incidents are ever the same,' he added.

'When you save a life the feeling is great.'

Unfortunately, not every outcome is ideal and dealing with people passing away is something fire-fighters are trained to do.

'When I started out the advice we received was that we are not the cause of the accident, we are there to do our job,' he said.

'Everyone has their way of dealing with it and we have additional supports now to help people deal with fatalities,' he added.

One of those supports initiatives is CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) which helps people deal with difficult situations they encounter while carrying out their duties.

'The training has improved so much over the years and that's good,' said Tony.

For his retirement function he was joined by fire service colleagues from Bunclody, Enniscorthy, New Ross, Gorey and Wexford fire stations.

He was also accompanied at the event by his wife, Bernadette, and his children, Richard, Simon, Josh Rachel and Sam.

Tony thanked everyone who attended his retirement party for making it a great night out for him and his family.

Enniscorthy Guardian