Posted: Tuesday 12th September 2017
Hertfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is looking to strengthen its fire crews by signing new on-call firefighters like warehouse manager Gemma Fraser, 31.
“I didn’t realise there was such a thing as an on-call firefighter until I met someone that works at the station,” said Gemma.
“They explained the job they did and what it involved. I thought it sounded really interesting and it was something I could do.”
She was inspired by her grandfather, who was a firefighter. Gemma adds that she feels she is making a valuable contribution to her community.
“It’s important retained stations have a full crew ready to respond as emergency calls can come in day or night.
“Retained stations cover the more rural parts of the county and the crews can often arrive at incidents before whole-time crews, which are located in bigger towns and cities.
Half of Hertfordshire’s fire engines are crewed by part-time firefighters, on call to respond to emergencies alongside their normal jobs, but the fire service needs to recruit more local people to train as firefighters to ensure a full crew is on standby near every station at all times.
“This early arrival could be the difference between life and death for someone, so those communities need local people to join so they can make a difference.”
To help do this, the fire service has launched a new campaign and video, tied to the closing of the football transfer window, to encourage people to join the ‘team’. The video stars Gemma as Herts Fire and Rescue Service’s latest signing.
Chief fire officer Darryl Keen said: “On-call firefighters are a vital part of our team, working and training alongside the full time crews to deal with emergencies.
“On-call firefighters come from all walks of life – plumbers, IT consultants, florists and financial advisers – all ready to drop everything and pull on their firefighting kit when their community needs them.
“We hope this video, and the campaign that goes with it, will raise the profile of this vital role and get more people to realise that this is something they could do and to think about the rewards of being a firefighter alongside their normal jobs.”
On-call firefighters need to live or work within four minutes of a fire station and be on standby to attend emergency incidents. In return we offer full training and a basic annual retainer as well as payments for call-outs to incidents. They are required to attend the station for training with colleagues for three hours one evening per week for which they will also be paid.
Find out more about being an on-call firefighter