Recruitment drive launched for more on-call firefighters to work in Northamptonshire
More hardworking on-call firefighters are being urged to assist the counties fire service as need for help in the daytime has increased.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has today launched a new recruitment drive where they hope to sign up to 40 more on-call firefighters to join their existing 200-strong crew.
Full training is given and, in the past, on-call firefighter posts have been filled by everyone from hairdressers or factory workers to retired people, restaurant managers, and otherwise full-time mums and dads at home.
Darren Dovey, chief fire officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "I would say to anyone to come along to the information evenings and get a full view of what the job is. Obviously, everyone has a perception of what a firefighter's job is and I think the job is much, much bigger than that.
"Actually, think about the benefit to the community and yourself. The big thing with this particular campaign is to widen the understanding of what the on-call role is so it can potentially appeal to a broader range of people.
"Historically the job has generally appealed to men between the ages of 20 to 40. At the minute 10 per cent of on-call staff are women and around five per cent are from BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities. We want to try and increase that by really explaining what the job is about."
The on-call officers work from five stations in the county, which include Kettering Wellingborough, Daventry, Rushden and Moulton, but more help is needed here in the daytime.
As well as fulfilling the more traditional roles of a firefighter such as tackling blazes and attending the scene of a crash there is a big focus on work in the community too.
Mr Dovey added: "They will be doing the operational response, so obviously they will go to fires and road traffic collisions. In addition to that though we would want them to do the prevention type work in their own communities.
"So whether that be going to fetes or schools and visiting nurseries it's also about going into people's homes and what we call 'doing home fire safety checks', fitting smoke detectors for people and making people safer in their homes.
"People who are working on the on-call stations will live or work in that community and they are giving the service back to themselves, their families and communities."
The job of an on-call fire fighter is a paid role, which many people choose to take on in addition to their, often very different, day jobs. There is no upper age limit and recruits should allow up to one year to complete basic training.
On-call firefighter Georgia Abbott, 25, was inspired to take on a role with the counties fire service when she heard about the Grenfell Tower disaster. She works as a transport manager for a delivery company too.
She has been on-call for five months and has been called out to a flooded kitchen, a thatch roof fire, acted as a co-responder to a caller who had suffered a stroke and helped a man down a ladder who was stuck on a cherry picker.
"My inspiration was the Grenfell fire disaster," she said. "But ever since I was young I've always wanted to be part of a corse.
"There was something about watching Grenfell on the news - I just wanted to be there so desperately. A few days later was when I looked at how I went about being an on-call firefighter."
Georgia said she feels empowered as a woman while working as a firefighter.
"From what I've experience so far, especially on my basics, it's really nice to have a female on your crew.
"They really look after you, there's no sexism or anything like that and they really include you and see you as a valued member.
"I'd say absolutely go for it. It feels all the more empowering because you're a woman and you're in what people perceive as a male dominated environment."
Screen Northants has made five short films about the fire service in Northamptonshire, which will be used as part of the recruitment campaign on social media.
Applicants for on-call firefighter roles must:• Live or work up to eight minutes travelling distance from nearest on-call fire station• Be 18-years-old or within six months of their 18th birthday• Be physically fit
To sign up click here: oncallfire.uk/treadmill/