Edenbridge on-call firefighter, Alex Hallson
Edenbridge resident, 27-year old Alex Hallson works in sales for an aircraft parts company by day but at night he’s an on-call firefighter at his local fire station and is encouraging other local women and men to get involved.
Alex has worked for Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) for two years and is planning on setting up home with his girlfriend soon, as the couple are expecting their first child in the summer.
Explaining how he got involved Alex said: “I knew a couple of people who were on-call firefighters and it sounded really interesting. I looked on KFRS' website and visited Edenbridge fire station on drill night (Monday) to find out more. The role sounded really varied and everyone was really helpful, I couldn’t wait to get involved.
“You have a great sense of pride knowing you’re helping your local community. The training is first class, you get to use lots of different equipment and learn so many new skills that are really useful in everyday life. My employer is very supportive and has benefitted too. As a result of my KFRS qualifications I’m now a first aider and a fire marshal at work.
“Being a firefighter teaches you how to approach different tasks in the mind set of an incident, to carry out risk assessments and know about health and safety, it’s really valuable and all transferrable skills.
“I work in an office during the day and it’s not very active so being an on-call firefighter gives me a good balance. I thought I’d have to be super fit but that’s not the case, I go to the gym, swim and do a few classes.
“One of the best things about being an on-call firefighter is being able to help people and make a difference. It’s such a great service that people admire and respect and my family and friends are all proud of me. It’s such a great feeling knowing that you’re able to help people when they are in need.”
Alex recalls his first ever shout was to a microlight which had crash landed into a tree. Due to his training he was also able to assist at a serious road crash while off duty and first on the scene.
“You just don’t know what you’re going to face when you turn up to an incident. You get butterflies and an adrenaline rush going out the doors on the fire engine with the sirens going. It can be quite daunting but once on the scene your training kicks in. You always have the guidance of your watch or crew manager and the support from the rest of the crew. Teamwork is everything in the fire service and you get a real sense of achievement once you complete a job.
“You have busy periods where you go out several times a week and others where it’s really quiet, it varies week on week but it’s definitely worth doing.” said Alex.
On-call firefighters are men and women who are paid to be available for an agreed number of hours. During that time you are able to carry on your normal life, but are paid to be available. You are expected to undertake and attend training. If you can provide daytime, evening or weekend cover KFRS want to hear from you.
When you are on-call you will carry a pager and must be able to get to Edenbridge fire station within five minutes of it sounding. Alex is usually on-call four and a half nights a week, typically from 6pm until 6am. But hours can be flexible to ensure best cover for the station who are also looking for people available during the day. For the vast majority of those hours Alex goes about his everyday life either at home or out in Edenbridge.
To be an on-call firefighter you have to be at least 18 years old but there’s no upper age limit. You will need a good level of all round fitness and live or work within five minutes travelling time of your local on-call fire station. Why not pop into the station on drill night to find out more.
Do something extraordinary, be an on-call firefighter and help make a difference in your local community.
KFRS is also recruiting on-call firefighters at Ashford, Aylesham, Cranbrook, Dymchurch, Eastchurch, Edenbridge, Hoo, Hythe, Larkfield, Marden, New Romney and Paddock Wood fire stations.
Edenbridge's on-call firefighters