SENIOR firefighters at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service were reportedly left in tears of pride after the results of the service’s latest inspection were revealed.

In November, NFRS was rated as ‘good’ or ‘adequate’ in all categories by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

The inspector noted this was a “significant improvement” on the last inspection in 2021.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting (January 17) of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet, Cllr Gordon Stewart explained how much the report had meant to the county’s firefighters.

The Prudhoe South councillor is the council’s cabinet member for communities, with responsibility for the fire service.

He said: “I will tell you that the seasoned firefighters I was with were hugging and crying because they were so proud of the report -that is the feeling there. The inspection is taken very seriously – they went to every station and took to as many members of staff as possible.

“I was made aware of a firefighter who had a long-term illness and who has since sadly died. She was so ingrained in the fire service, and wanted daily updates, so the fire chief and his deputy were visiting her on a daily basis.

“That is the feeling in our fire service. It was a fantastic report and we should all be very proud of it.”

A report presented to the council said that Northumberland had demonstrated the “most significant improvement by far” of the nine fire services inspected so far in the third round of inspections. It also highlighted NFRS’s strength at “promoting the right values and cultures”, with praise for “well-defined values”.

Surveys carried out by the inspectorate found that 94 per cent of staff felt they were “treated with respect by the people they work with”.

The report followed significant change at the top of the fire service. In August, Graeme Binning took over as the county’s new chief fire officer, taking the reigns from the retiring Paul Hedley. In December, Jim McNeil secured the role of deputy chief fire officer, moving up from assistant chief.