Have you ever thought about becoming a firefighter, but life has taken you down a different career path?
Well that doesn’t have to be the end of your fire fighting ambitions, as Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is on the lookout for on-call firefighters at all of its 38 stations across the county.
As recruitment manager Jason Lawley says: “On-call firefighters can be anyone – cooks, factory workers, farmers, care workers, home workers, window cleaners, teachers, school caretakers, personal trainers, the list is endless.
“They all do everyday jobs until the emergency call is received and then quite literally they put on their other hat and become professional firefighters. They are frontline life savers and valued members of their communities.”
The key requirement is that all on-call firefighters must be able to get to the fire station within five minutes of a call, and be ready to go out with the crew to emergency situations.
The service recently saw 15 on-call firefighters complete their 11-week training course, and join stations including Market Deeping and Corby Glen.
Mick Green, deputy chief fire officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, explains: “Our comprehensive training course is designed to ensure that our recruits are prepared for the demands of being a modern firefighter and are able to start work at their stations right away.
“The course covers many topics, including firefighter basic skills, ladder and pump drills, hydraulics, working from heights, road traffic collisions, occupational first aid, legislation and health and safety.”
One woman who decided nine years ago to ‘turn-up the heat’ by becoming an on-call firefighter, and hasn’t looked back since, is Melissa Brooks.
She fits in being a retained firefighter with looking after her two young children and managing a hair and beauty salon in Empingham.
“I love the variety the job brings,” explains Melissa. “I’ve been a hairdresser since I was 14 and one day I just thought I need to do something different. Becoming an on-call firefighter was a great option – I could fit it around my family and work life.
“The job requires commitment, self-motivation and a desire to protect and help the local community, so if that sounds like you, I would say do it – take a chance and go for it. It is the most amazing and rewarding job ever.”
Of course, Melissa is all too aware that while the role has an element of excitement, ultimately it is about potentially working in life or death situations.
She said: “Pulling on the uniform and getting in the fire engine or the fire ambulance is a huge adrenaline rush - you know you’re going to help someone in need, but you don’t know the circumstances surrounding the call.
“I love doing the job and my children and friends are so supportive of me. I know that I can really make a difference in the community and actually save people’s lives.
My advice is to pick up the phone and get in touch!”
IT worker Julian Turner is also an on-call firefighter and echoes Melissa’s thoughts.
He said: “In my day job things are fairly predictable, but my role as an on-call firefighter couldn’t be more different and that’s why I love it. The adrenaline rush I get on the way to a shout is something you just don’t get to experience working in an office.
“I remember on a particular stormy night we attended a workshop fire in Bourne. It was pouring down with rain and we were setting up the pumps when a couple of gas canisters in the building exploded. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“With the lightning as a backdrop it felt totally unreal, like something out of a Hollywood movie!”
If you’re still not convinced and want to find out more, you can join the team at Stamford Fire Station for a taster session today (Saturday, April 16). The session runs between 10am and 2pm.