Evesham Fire Station needs you

Retained officers at Evesham Fire Station.

ME!

Retained officers at Evesham Fire Station.

Watch Commander Richard Young, from Evesham Fire Station.

Retained firefighter Mike Lee in breathing apparatus.

Retained firefighter Mike Lee in breathing apparatus.

Retained firefighters in training at Evesham Fire Station.

First published in News by

BEING a firefighter is a dream job.

Firefighters push themselves to the limit to save lives on a daily basis.

But in recent years drastic cut backs have made it a tough profession to break into.

It takes a special someone in any event but now the entry point into the service is often as a retained firefighter - a position whereby you continue to work and go about your normal business but are also on call if there is an emergency.

At any time your pager could beep and you need to be able to get to the fire station within five minutes.

This is a tall order and for many it's impossible yet the role is vital to provide cover when the regular crews are not on shift.

In Evesham the retained unit provides cover in the day alongside the full time fire fighters and in the evening when the station in Merstow Green is not crewed.

In recent times they have assisted on car accidents and they have helped at major incidents such as the fire at Allerton in 2007 and at Sims Metals last year.

And when they do get called the first six at the station that go on the job act as a regular crew battling the blazes and ensuring people are safe.

Now at Evesham they are looking for more people to join their team of 16 to provide daytime cover - meaning they must live or work within five minutes of the station and be able and willing to come when they are called between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

The role is paid a retainer salary of £2,180 plus extra pay for attending call outs, and when fully trained can earn up to £8,000 a year.

Next week on Monday, September 1, they are inviting people to come to an awareness session from 7pm to find out more about being a retained firefighter.

The retained crew meet on a Monday night to train for around three hours and they invited the Journal along to see what they get up to.

So I met Watch Commander Richard Young, from Evesham Fire Station, who ran me through some of what the retained firefighters have to do.

The night begins with a parade and the crew members are given duties to undertake, such as cleaning the kit, doing inventory and health and safety checks.

After this the nights training gets underway in earnest.

Some of the crew go off to perform an intel at the Regal cinema, checking the safety procedure and ensuring the venue is safe.

The rest stay behind and get on with their practical training, including everything from rolling up hose reels to practicing rescues and using their coded arm signals, which enable them to communicate at a distance.

I also suited up in the heavy duty kit and met experience retained firefighter Mike Lee, aged 28, of Hampton.

"I got involved because I wanted to give something back to the community," said Mr Lee, whose daytime job is as a store manager in Honeybourne.

"It's also a bit of a challenge. I do it for the love of it. It takes a special something and you have to have a good level of commitment. If I could do it full time I would.

"Over the years I have been called out lots including to crashes where people have been trapped. But in my seven years I have only come across one fatality."

As an experienced retained firefighter Mr Lee also put the breathing apparatus into action demonstrating what they would do when entering a burning building.

Watch Commander Richard Young added the role was vital

"The role is a challenging yet extremely rewarding one, and provides a vital service within the local community," he said. "It’s also a chance to learn a range of new skills, such as accident prevention and first aid, that can be of real benefit in other areas of your life, whether at home or at work.

"If people see this and think my employer won't let me do this then I would say come along and we always go and talk to them.

"We struggle to fill the day time roles. We have found with the town being quieter the big businesses have less people as do the small ones and the way people work is different as well."

If successful training will begin in January.

Anyone interested in attending the awareness session can call the HR department on 01905 368343.

Further details are available at hwfire.org.uk.

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