Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service launches on-call recruitment drive

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has launched a recruitment drive for on-call firefighters and is inviting men and women across the county to join the on-call firefighter teams working in the heart of their community.

On-call firefighters are people that will go about their daily everyday life until they are alerted to an emergency incident in their area; then they have five minutes to get to their local fire station and respond as a professional firefighter.

All of Oxfordshire’s fire stations have on-call teams that make up 60% of the county’s operational fire and rescue service, with 18 out of 24 stations crewed solely by on-call firefighters. With vacancies available at nearly every station, a new campaign is being launched that aims to recruit 40 more on-call firefighters by the end of 2017.

Paid, professional role

Becoming an on-call firefighter is a paid, professional role and many people balance it with their day-to-day job. On average they earn between £5,000 and £9,000 per annum, as well as having access to other benefits including the firefighter pension scheme and blue light benefits. They receive the same training as wholetime firefighters, worth over £7,000.

Paul Bremble, Group Manager for People and Organisational Support at Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have fantastic crews of on-call firefighters spread across Oxfordshire but as a number of them are moving on we’re looking for more people to join the teams that are protecting their local community.

“There is no typical firefighter and we employ men and women from all walks of life. We ask for a minimum commitment of 40 hours on-call per week which sounds a lot but on average you are called out 2-3 times per week for an hour at a time. The hours are different to suit the needs of the station and individual circumstances, so the role can be flexible for individual needs.”

Live or work near your local fire station?

If you’re 18 and live or work within close proximity of your local fire station, you can apply to become an on-call firefighter. The role requires a reasonable level of fitness and suits people that enjoy being challenged and thrive in a team orientated environment.

Dave Etheridge OBE, Chief Fire Officer at Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “On-call firefighters are the backbone of our organisation, providing a fantastic public service. I started my career as an on-call firefighter in Abingdon and the thing I loved was not only the sense of adventure, or being at the heart of my local community, but being part of a really good team and the comradery we shared. People really noticed a positive difference in me after joining the fire and rescue service and I’d encourage anyone considering applying to do so.”

Amy Palmer is an on-call firefighter at Wheatley Fire Station and said: “I became an on-call firefighter as I wanted to give back to my community and it’s a fantastic way to stay active and challenge yourself. It is a big commitment as you have to stay within five minutes of the station whenever you’re on call, but you get to choose your hours and as team spirit is a huge part of the fire service, people will always try to cover you if you need the time off."

Stuart Smith is an on-call firefighter at Eynsham Fire Station and said: “It’s described as a job, but for most of us it’s more like a hobby. I’ve learnt so many new skills thanks to all the courses and training, I’ve got real camaraderie with my team mates and my self-confidence has really grown – all while earning a little extra money and serving my community.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is especially keen to hear from people that are able to provide cover during the daytime in the week and at weekends.

Group Manager Paul Bremble added: “We are actively looking for people that are able to provide on-call cover during the daytime, so we want to reach out to employers across Oxfordshire to ask them to consider supporting staff to become on-call firefighters as well and let them know the benefits of employing an on-call firefighter.”

Apply now!

Applications are now open for the training course starting June 2017 and anyone interested is encouraged to speak to their local station manager, or visit their local stations drill night to chat with the crew. Find out more by visiting www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oncallfirefighters