After leaving college I gained employment in the Engineering industry, which I have been doing for over 25 years. Despite enjoying this role, in 2007 I decided I wanted to give something back to my local community, I was told about the On-Call Duty System in the Fire Service by a local taxi driver who was also an On-Call Firefighter with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service. I decided to look into the possibility of joining the On-Call unit at Staveley, and when I found out that you can have a full time job and be an On-Call Firefighter, I applied.
If I’m honest I didn’t think I had much chance of passing all the entry tests because I thought I was too old to join. I was totally wrong because Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service gives everyone the same opportunities. I had the chance to practice the tests at Staveley, which really helped, and the support I received resulted in me passing the tests and becoming an On-Call firefighter.
In my first 3 years in the service I realised how important team work really is. I also learnt many new skills, which included trauma care, LGV driving, emergency fire appliance driving, IOSH (Health & Safety) and much more. In 2010, after being a Firefighter for 3 years, an opportunity came up for me to take a temporary promotion to On-Call Crew Manager which I decided to take. The learning and development opportunities I gained whilst doing this temporary promotion were fantastic, which eventually resulted in me getting the job on a permanent basis.
In 2012 another opportunity arose for me to take a temporary promotion to On-Call Watch Manager, which meant being in charge of the whole On-Call unit - 13 people. Again the learning and development opportunities that came with this promotion were fantastic.
I had the temporary Watch Manager position on and off for over 14 months and then I was successful at interview and got the promotion permanently. I’ve been doing this job for over 5 years now.
I am extremely proud of what I have achieved as an On-Call Firefighter but I hadn’t achieved my end goal, which was to work for the Fire Service full time as a Wholetime Firefighter, so over the last couple of years I worked hard to put myself in a position to achieve that end goal and in November 2019 I was successful in my application to become a Wholetime Crew Manager.
If you don’t live close enough to a Fire Station to become an On-Call Firefighter, but you work close to one, there’s still an opportunity to join the Service. Some employers will allow their staff to be an On-Call firefighter, allowing them the time to respond to fire calls while at work. I have been lucky enough to live and work close enough to my Station to be On-Call from home and work.
For me, the most rewarding part of my employment in the Fire Service is working in my local community. This can be attending emergency situations, or delivering a variety of safety advice when visiting homes and businesses. This was the reason that I joined and it is still so rewarding to be able to do this, 12 years on.
So if you’ve always wanted to give something back to your community, why not consider becoming an On-Call Firefighter.
Interested in becoming an On-Call Firefighter? Read more about the role here