Could you be an on-call firefighter?
What have a Norfolk tree surgeon, HR officer, plumber and PA all got in common?
They’ve just trained as retained firefighters to help meet a shortage of part-time staff
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has 42 stations across the county, with 39 relying on retained personnel.
Being a firefighter is about much more than tackling blazes and getting cats out of trees. And firefighters don’t meet the traditional stereotypes any more than their work does.
As well as tackling blazes and freeing motorists after collisions, Norfolk firefighters co-respond with the ambulance service to emergency calls as part of a national pilot. This means if someone collapses in their local shopping centre, it might be a firefighter on the scene first to deliver lifesaving first aid.
The beauty of being a retained firefighter is that it attracts people from every walk of life. And you can have two careers at the same time. Retained firefighters offer cover at certain times (days/evenings/weekends) or round the clock. The retainer they receive is 10% of an equivalent wholetime firefighter plus payment for a weekly training evening, as well as callouts and training.
When retained firefighters are called upon, there must be a crew of four available or the engine cannot respond. To apply to be a retained firefighter you must live or work within five minutes of a fire station and because Norfolk is so rural, recruiting people local enough is challenging.
Those applying for duty during their usual working hours would need an understanding employer.
“Allowing a member of staff to become a retained firefighter has benefits to the workplace too. The training gives our new recruits many transferable skills. They have a good sense of discipline, knowledge of fire safety, health and safety and hazardous materials training, as well as excellent trauma care training and regular fitness and health checks,” said chief fire officer David Ashworth.
Watch manager Terry Pinto, who trained the latest recruits, said: “There is no ‘type’ of person we are looking for. Anybody with a reasonable level of fitness who wants to do a rewarding job and can commit some time should consider becoming a retained firefighter. You would be providing an invaluable contribution to keeping your community safe.”
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