News release text
“Making a difference in our local community and being able to help people will be so satisfying,” said Sam Walker from Swanscombe, who along with his brother Luke, are two of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s latest recruits.
The brothers were taken on earlier this year as part of a countywide recruitment campaign and after an induction weekend, six weekly training evenings and then a two week training course, joined colleagues on the run at Swanscombe Fire Station this week and will be attending a range of incidents.
Sam, a 24-year-old self-employed builder, said: “It’s been a life-time ambition of mine to become a firefighter. There’s so much to learn but the training teaches you a lot about yourself and is very demanding.”
20-year-old Luke, a maintenance worker on the underground said: “It’s been physical and challenging but really enjoyable. The fact that we are here to help people is what really made me join. The training course has been lots of hard work but I’ve enjoyed it. Now I’m looking forward to responding to my first emergency call.”
The brothers will be paid to be on-call for KFRS for an agreed number of hours and carry a pager which means that they must either live or work close by. They can go about their normal life but it is essential that they are able to get to the station within five minutes of being called.
Trainees learn the basics about KFRS procedures, first aid, pump theory and fire science. Practical training involves a range of physical drills including exercises with ladders, firefighting equipment and rescue gear. Successful trainees work towards a nationally recognised qualification in first aid and health and safety at work.
All kinds of people can be firefighters and KFRS is keen to challenge the stereotypes that might stop some people from applying for the job. On-call firefighters come from all walks of life, and they generally have other jobs. They commit to working an agreed number of hours for the fire service each week and it’s a great opportunity to contribute to their local community and learn new skills and gain qualifications.
KFRS’s Team Performance and Development Manager, Phil Rice, said: “Generally on-call firefighters fit their duties around other jobs or family commitments, so this is not their ‘main’ employment. It’s very flexible, making it ideal for people with caring responsibilities.”
Watch KFRS’s video to find out more about being an on-call firefighter, how to apply and whether your local station is recruiting.
Note to Newsdesks:
Photos of Sam and Luke Walker are available from our photo library at www.kentfirephotos.co.uk