The latest retained fire fighters to be recruited by Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service have climbed the first rung on their career ladders by completing their initial two week training programme.Â
There are currently 56 retained fire fighter vacancies at Norfolk fire stations. With 39 of Norfolkâ€™s 42 fire stations relying on retained firefighters, filling the roles is really important as it means fire fighters are available closer to any incidents and the service can respond quickly.Â
The appointment of 15 new fire fighters this month will fill some of the vacancies at fire stations across the county which are reliant on retained (on-call) staff.
Norfolk's Chief Fire Officer David Ashworth said: "This is really good news for the stations involved and the communities they serve. We have identified retained recruitment as a priority for the service and have invested a great deal of time and effort into improving our recruitment process. It is pleasing to see this delivering positive results."
Retained fire fighters receive a retainer for being on call and carry an alerter which lets them know when an incident occurs.Â
In order for fire engines to go out, they must be staffed by a minimum crew of four. If no crew is available then fire engines from further afield are dispatched instead, meaning that response times will be slower.
Brett Hopcroft, Retained Development Manager at Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, said: â€œThese latest appointments are helping us to ensure cover for as much of Norfolk as possible when our services are needed, but we still need more and would love to fill every vacancy.
â€œAll recruits went through a rigorous process to make it on to the course, and over this initial two weeks they have been learning the basics around dealing with different types of incident, including fires, road traffic incidents, as well as how to work safely at height and near water. They will also undertake a further two week breathing apparatus course that will teach them how to tackle fires within buildings and structures as well as their training continuing on-the-job over the next couple of years. It is great to be able to welcome them into the service and I know how rewarding they will find their new careers whilst they respond to their community's needs.â€
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee, said: "We are so grateful to our county's fire fighters for keeping the people or Norfolk safe. It's so pleasing to see new recruits coming forward to serve their communities and I wish them every success in their new careers."
Retained fire fighters often have other careers too and the latest batch include a shop manager, design engineer, personal trainer, warehouse worker, healthcare assistant, vehicle builder, admin assistant and civil servant.
They will be based at stations including Cromer, Great Yarmouth, Hethersett, Diss, Martham, Loddon, Hingham, Attleborough, Sandringham, Gorleston, Methwold and Outwell.
As well as the retained fee, fire fighters are paid per call out and for their weekly training session. On average they earn Â£7,000 per year.
To apply to become a retained fire fighter, applicants must live or work within five minutes of a fire station. Remember, not all heroes wear capes. If you think you have got what it takes and want a rewarding career and to become part of the fire service family, visit: