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Take your first step on the ladder to becoming one of KFRS's everyday heroes

Take your first step on the ladder to becoming one of KFRS's everyday heroes

Westerham on-call Firefighter Ross Ringham

11 March 2015

Being an on-call firefighter means you could be rescuing people from crashed cars, fighting fires in burning buildings or putting your skills to the test helping people who are injured, all the time knowing that people in your local community are relying on you.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is now recruiting members of the community to join their on-call fire stations around the county, including Westerham, Edenbridge and Ash-cum-Ridley.

Westerham on-call firefighter Ross Ringham joined KFRS in September 2013 and said: "I’d always been interested in the fire service but I didn’t realise that you could combine your existing career with being a firefighter. I was working as a magazine editor when my local fire station started a recruitment campaign for on-call positions. The station needed people to provide cover in the evenings and on weekends. That suited me, because my job involved travelling into London from Monday to Friday.

"I contacted my local watch manager to find out more and I liked what I heard: on-call firefighters get first class training that follows the same syllabus as full time firefighters, use the same equipment and do the same job. You learn how to use breathing apparatus, put out fires, manoeuvre through tight spaces, operate hydraulic machinery, deal with vehicle crashes and deliver critical first aid. It’s a challenging and varied role, but you can make a real difference to people’s lives – and you get paid.

"During my contracted hours, I carry a pager and must be within five minutes of the station. In Westerham, that’s pretty much anywhere in the village, so I can respond from home, the café, the shops or the gym. When I started, I provided cover on alternate weekends. I now work from home, running my own motor racing website, which means I can be on-call during the day. It’s flexible, so I can make sure my on-call hours don’t get in the way of business meetings or when I travel to races. This could just as easily suit other people who work in the village or even parents who’ve dropped their kids off at school or nursery.

"The on-call system means I can be a professional firefighter without adversely impacting my career or leisure time. Actually, being an on-call firefighter can help other areas of your life, with increased self-confidence, new skills, better fitness and the tight-knit group of new friends you’ll find in your crew. You’ll discover strengths you never knew you had while protecting your local community – and you get paid for doing it. That’s a win-win in anyone’s book."

Everyone joining KFRS as a firefighter has to:

  • Be at least 18 years old and we welcome applications from all ages - male and female 

  • Have a good level of fitness - sometimes people overestimate the levels required and this can put some people off applying
  • Live or work within five minutes travelling time of Westerham and Edenbridge Fire Station. We are also recruiting at Ash-cum-Ridley, Borough Green, Cranbrook, Eastchurch, Headcorn, Lenham and New Romney Fire Stations 

  • Have good levels of reading and writing 

  • Be able to be on-call when KFRS needs you

If you meet the criteria above, have a positive attitude and want to make a commitment to your local community, come along to our recruitment event on Wednesday, 18 March between 7-9pm at Westerham Fire Station, Croydon Road, Westerham or visit www.kent.fire-uk.org/oncall and take the first step on the ladder to joining one of the most respected careers.

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