Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has 56 fire stations across Kent and Medway. On-call firefighters work from 49 of these fire stations, so they are crucial to the way KFRS provides its service.
On-call firefighters do all sorts of jobs and yet are also skilled firefighters offering cover when needed. The role of an on-call firefighter requires determination, courage and commitment but most importantly a desire to serve their community.
Protect and save
How does this impact you and your business?
On-call firefighters agree to be available for a certain number of hours per week and carry a pocket alerter, they must be able to get to the fire station in around five minutes.
They would normally respond to two or three incidents a week. It’s difficult to say how long they may have to be out on a call as it depends on the incident, but most crews are back at their stations within an hour.
During their training, On-call firefighters learn many different skills which make them knowledgeable and flexible people in any workplace:
Transferable skills – teamwork, communication, responsibility, crisis management, fitness and more.
Trained in first aid – which can also contribute to legal obligations for first aid cover.
Wellbeing, safeguarding and mental health awareness. Large goods vehicle training.
IOSH Working Safely training, access to IOSH Managing Safely. Trained in manual handling.
Motivated and committed staff. Good local reputation and corporate social responsibility.
We understand the inconvenience of an employee having to rush off at any moment, and that they could be away for a period of time, however there are many benefits and you as an employer will have the satisfaction that you could really be making a difference.
The fire service recognises that on-call staff sometimes take time away from their normal work to undertake training, for this reason as much of the basic training as possible is undertaken on the stations during drill nights and during weekends. However, the initial training may take up to 30 week days during the first two years of service, which will only be successful with the full support of the On-call firefighter, the station and the employer.
Frequently Asked Questions
My business is often on-call for business. How would this work?
As their primary employer you would always get priority. We are always on hand to offer employers advice and support where we can. We recognise the importance of the support you lend your local crews and communities.
Supposing my employee is out all night and is unfit for work the next day?
Prolonged incidents do of course occur, but crews are rotated so it is not usual for a crew to be out all night long. However it is recognised that extended periods of exertion can lead to accidents through tiredness and lack of concentration.
How will I know how long they will be out for?
There are phones on the appliance and crew members are encouraged to call their employers with an estimated time of return – if however, they are out on a false alarm, they could be back within 20 minutes.
What if my employee gets injured while at an incident?
All firefighters are trained to a high standard and so injuries on incidents are rare. However should this happen we have policies in place for compensating the employee for any loss of earnings after Statutory Sick Pay.
We are always on hand to offer employers advice and support where we can. We recognise the importance of the support you lend your local crews and communities.