3t’s fire training instructors are highly skilled at what they do, with many also working as professional firefighters.
That’s certainly true of Tony Hardy, who teaches OPITO Offshore Emergency Response Team Member and Team Leader courses (OERTM and OERTL) at our Durham offshore firefighting centre. Tony is Watch Manager for the County Durham and Darlington Fire & Rescue Service and when he’s not firefighting, he’s training others how to do it.
Born and bred in Middlesbrough, Tony initially started his career as an airborne engineer in the Army. A yearning to be a firefighter saw Tony leave the military and join the fire service in 2006.
In 2014, he took his field experience into the classroom to train others and turned this into a full-time job before returning to an operational position as Watch Manager in 2021.
But Tony missed the experience of teaching others and he now delivers OPITO offshore firefighting courses alongside his Watch Manager role. Tony said:
“The experience of being both operational and training others is complementary and can bring enormous benefit to both sides. But I particularly love the training element as it’s incredibly rewarding to see people develop firefighting skills.
“Many of my friends work offshore so I’m very familiar with the lifestyle. When teaching offshore workers, you get to meet all sorts of people from very different backgrounds. And they’ve all got great stories to tell. Although the environment might be radically different, fighting a fire offshore and fighting a fire onshore are broadly similar. It’s all about problem-solving.
“By the end of the week, you can see a huge difference in delegates, with everyone working together and forming a very tight team to successfully resolve a variety of testing firefighting scenarios.”
Three fun facts you might not know about Tony…
1. He received a rare and highly coveted Gold Peter Badge after carrying out training with the Blue Peter crew while on deployment in Norway.
2. An avid-collector of Star Wars Lego, Tony is relieved to have the excuse of his 5-year-old son, Mason, when buying sets.
3. He enjoys rock climbing and running in his spare time.