You could be dropping the kids off at school one minute and tackling a house fire the next, as an on-call firefighter for Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) you’ll never know when to expect the next call or who will need your help.
But, if you’re passionate about keeping people safe and live or work within five minutes of Eastchurch Fire Station, this could be the ideal job for you. Our firefighters go above and beyond to help protect and save people and property from fire, road crashes, flooding and a wide range of emergency situations.
"It can be a dynamic, exciting and rewarding job," said 36 year-old Herbie King, who took up the challenge of being an on-call firefighter at Eastchurch in 2003. He added: "I spent a number of years as a workshop foreman and fitter on a farm in Eastchurch, having lived in the area all my life, but was ready for a career change and have never looked back.
"Most people assume that when a fire engine arrives at an incident the crew have been at the fire station waiting for the next 999 call to come in. As on-call firefighters we’re not based at a fire station but are paid to be available for an agreed number of hours, whether we’re called out or not. I go about my normal life with my fiancé Emma and two children, Josh (9) and Abbie (6) and I’m only paged when needed to help protect the local community."
On-call firefighters get the same professional training, are expected to deal with the same types of incidents and use the same equipment as full time firefighters. Once the emergency has been dealt with they go back to whatever it was they were doing before their pager went off - work, sleep, watching the TV, socialising with family and friends.
Eastchurch crew members also provide support to the ambulance service as co-responders and have the necessary skills to provide defibrillation, basic life support and effective treatment for injured or seriously ill patients until the paramedics arrive.
Herbie was one of the first on the scene after the 100 vehicle pile up on the Sheppey Crossing in September 2013. He recalls: "Team working is an essential part of the job my training helped me keep calm and provide first aid and on-the-scene assistance to casualties and the other emergency services. There’s nothing like being able to help others when they need you."
He added: "I love being on call, I get to meet new people and enjoy the challenges it brings. My previous employer also benefitted as I was able to put my first aid training to use and share my knowledge of fire safety and risk assessment."
It doesn’t really matter what your day job is, you could be a milkman, builder or work in the local shop, on-call firefighters are men and women from all walks of life. As long as:
You are at least 18 years old with a good level of fitness
You can be ready at a moment’s notice to stop what you’re doing and get to Eastchurch Fire Station and be ready within five minutes of receiving KFRS’s call
Have a good standard of numeracy and literacy
You could be just the type of person KFRS is looking for to help make a really positive contribution to your local area.
You can get more information about being an on-call firefighter at www.kent.fire-uk.org/oncall or come to a recruitment event at Eastchurch Fire Station, Church Road, Eastchurch on Tuesday, 31st March or Tuesday, 14th April from 6-8pm or contact Eastchurch Watch Manager Dylan Collard on 01622 692121 ext 6606 or email Dylan.firstname.lastname@example.org