Lauren and Paula become firefighters for a day

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The special guests were put through their paces at the SFRS National Training Centre in Cambuslang.

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Being a firefighter is a dream familiar to many and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was delighted to make it come true for two special guests.

Instructors at the SFRS National Training Centre at Cambuslang put charity fundraiser Lauren Cosgrove, aged 10, and writer Paula McGuire through their paces as ‘firefighters for a day’ at the world-class facility on the outskirts of Glasgow.

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Paul Connelly, the SFRS head of service delivery for the west of Scotland, said: “Lauren and Paula have done a great deal to help others and it was terrific to see them as firefighters for a day.

“With Cambuslang offering a highly realistic setting this was a unique chance for them to experience first-hand the challenge of tackling intense fires. I know they both had a great day."

Lauren and Paula donned full firefighting kit and crewed a fire engine, travelling under blue lights through the SFRS National Training Centre’s mock village in response to several ‘emergencies’.

Their first shout was to tackle a blazing car inside garage, before they moved on to extinguish a house fire and an inferno at a petro-chemical plant.

The experience gave Lauren a fitting start to her trip to London for the Spirit of Fire Awards, where she was named runner-up in the Youth Courage category.

Lauren’s nomination recognised her efforts to help other youngsters living with short bowel syndrome, a condition that leaves her unable to absorb nutrients through food and means she constantly wears a backpack weighing around a fifth of her own body weight.

Inspirational writer Paula McGuire was also invited to experience the role of a firefighter as part of her challenge to try 15 childhood ‘dream jobs’.

Having been a self-confessed “nervous wreck of a person”, Paula overcame the severe social anxiety that had plagued her since childhood and decided to try all 17 sports featured in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

After successfully achieving that goal she launched the Dream Jobs Challenge to raise awareness of the condition and inspire those with it to overcome the fears that can leave them isolated.

Having ticked another dream job off her list, Paula said: “Being a firefighter for a day was unlike any other experience I've ever had.

“Not only did it give me a real insight into the challenges of the job, it reminded me just how lucky we are to have a service of people willing to do it.

“And, apart from everything else, it was fantastic being able to tackle fires, go up in an aerial rescue appliance and, of course, ride around in the fire engine for the day!”

Lauren added: “It’s been so exciting. It was a bit scary putting the first fire out but I really enjoyed it. It’s great to know what it’s like to be a firefighter.”

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