by Alan Quick
CREDITON Fire Station has issued an urgent appeal for prospective on-call (retained) firefighters.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) is looking for people in the Crediton community after it was revealed that there is a shortage of crew members for the two-pump station in Charlotte Street, Crediton.
On-call crews are paid, trained professionals working to the same high standards as full-time firefighters (termed wholetime by DSFRS) and they will need to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more, where all crews work alongside each other.
Apart from a few hours a week for training sessions and to carry out other pre-arranged duties, DSFRS says that on-call firefighters only attend the fire station when they have received an emergency callout.
For much of the time, an on-call fire station, like Crediton, is not crewed. Each on-call firefighter carries a pocket pager, which is activated when they are needed and they have a maximum of five minutes to report to the fire station and mobilise the necessary appliance(s).
On-call firefighters will have other occupations, but when the call comes they drop whatever they are doing and become part of a highly motivated team. Depending on the type of cover given, an on-call firefighter may respond from home and/or work, day and/or night.
Call rates vary from station to station in Devon and Somerset with some on-call stations responding to more than 800 calls a year and others responding to less than 50. On average, the Service says an on-call firefighter could expect to be called out two or three times a week for perhaps a couple of hours.
In addition when a person really can’t spare the time, they can sign off duty, providing there is enough staff available to crew the appliance for that period.
No previous experience of firefighting is necessary for this role – the service says the ideal prospective firefighter starts with a commitment to the community, a positive attitude and a good level of fitness.
Crediton crew manager Sean Cooke, said: “We have availability for seven or eight firefighters at Crediton.
“This is an opportunity for men and women who live and/or work within five minutes response time to the fire station in Charlotte Street to potentially save lives in fire, flood and road traffic emergencies.”
He explained that anyone interested will need to be over 18 and have a good level of fitness and strength, but added that sometimes people overestimate the levels required and this can deter them (particularly women) from applying.
DSFRS is an inclusive employer and is working towards a workforce which reflects the local community, so if you are interested please go along to Crediton Fire Station, Charlotte Street, Crediton, EX17 3BJ, on any Tuesday evening between 7pm and 9pm to find out more information.
Alternatively, telephone DSFRS for further details on 01392 872294 or visit the website: www.dsfire.gov.uk .
Tomorrow, Saturday, February 17, Crediton firefighters will attend the Farmers’ Market in the town with an appliance as part of a recruitment drive and to collect donations for the Firefighter’s Charity.
On Saturday, March 3, from 9am to 2pm, a Charity Car Wash, will be held at Crediton Fire Station in Charlotte Street, in aid of the Firefighter’s Charity.
On Saturday, March 17, a recruitment morning will be held at the Lords Meadow Leisure Centre.
Firefighter Neil Hargreaves said that a leaflet drop to local businesses is also being planned, as well as a recruitment evening at the Fire Station.
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