Watlington parents encouraged to become on-call firefighters
The station, in Gorwell, is run by on-call firefighters, who have main daytime jobs but are available to attend emergencies in the day if they work locally or at night if living nearby.
Presently 10 on-call firefighters are employed at the station, some of who work extra shifts to maintain appropriate cover levels. Recently two have been recruited after passing assessment tests, but two others have left the service.
Engagement outside schools
Firefighters will be outside schools in the town at drop-off and pick-up times over the next few months to give children the opportunity to board the local fire station and to dispense information about being an on-call firefighter to parents.
Cover is needed during the day and at night and during weekends, as some staff work in the town but do not live there, so cannot provide cover all of the time, as on-call firefighters are required to be living or working about five minutes away from the fire station to deal with calls.
An integral part of the community
Marcus Reay, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service's Manager for Watlington Fire Station, said: "We see ourselves at Watlington Fire Station as an integral part of the community and we want to engage with locals who may think that a career as an on-call firefighter could be for them.
"We will be outside schools in the town over the next few months, giving the chance to school children to learn about safety and explore our fire engine and also us the opportunity to chat to the mothers and fathers who are dropping off and picking up their children about becoming an on-call firefighter.
"On-call firefighters learn valuable skills, such as keeping calm under pressure and being first aid trained to a high standard as well as obtaining health and safety knowledge, so they can be valuable assets to local employers."
Candidates wanting to become on-call firefighters must be over 17 years and ten months old and have a reasonable level of fitness. They must pass a series of mental and physical exams, which will test basic numeracy aptitude, problem solving skills, strength, fitness and ability to work in the dark; at heights and in confined places.
Those who pass the assessments will also need to be available to attend drills at the fire station at least once a week.
People wanting to find out more about becoming an on-call firefighter can contact Mr Reay on 07788183050 or by calling 0800 587 0870.