News release text
“I absolutely love it as you get to help people. I’ve lived here all my life and I’m young and fit enough to be able to help out so why not?!”, explains Sittingbourne born-and-bred car mechanic Joe Bowerman who, as one of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s newest recruits, is urging others to consider becoming an on-call firefighter.
The 21-year-old joined KFRS in 2012, completing his training earlier this year and going on the run in June. Since then he has already attended a number of incidents including road traffic collisions, a shed fire and a four appliance fire at Ridham Docks.
He explained why he joined the service: “Ever since I was a child, I always thought that being a firefighter would be a great job, but as I got older I assumed that it would involve a lot of study. My dad saw an advert that KFRS was recruiting and I went along to the information session the next day, filled in the form and it went from there.”
Joe, who has been a mechanic for Mercedes for the past three years, grew up in Sittingbourne and now is on-call for KFRS from 7.30pm to 4.30am each weekday evening, as well as being available to respond to operational incidents if called out every other weekend.
Sittingbourne is one of 26 stations across Kent currently recruiting. On-call firefighters are paid to be available for an agreed number of hours and during that time they can go about their normal life at home. However, if they are called, they must be able to drop what they are doing and get to the station, to be ready to respond operationally within five minutes. The contracted hours KFRS will offer will be based on what the station needs to deal with the risk in the area.
All kinds of people can be on-call firefighters. Most have other jobs, so it may appeal to men or women who are looking for extra shifts, want to take on an extra challenge, or perhaps want something to fit in with childcare.
Joe added: “Being on call all weekend, every other weekend, does take some adjustment; I was at a house party last weekend but stayed sober because I was on-call, luckily I can have a good time without drinking though so it works out fine for me.
“It all depends on the sort of person you are and if you’re passionate about doing something – like I am with being an on-call firefighter – you get used to it and it’s worth doing.”
Requirements include being over 18, physically fit, with good levels of reading and writing and candidates must be able to be operationally ready within five minutes. Full training is provided. Anyone interested can find details of the stations, hours needed, recruitment criteria and a film showing the fitness tests on http://www.kentfirejobs.info/
The current recruitment campaign is open until 30 September and anyone living in the Sittingbourne area who thinks they may be interested, is invited to attend an information evening on Wednesday 18 September from 7pm. This will be followed by an application workshop on Saturday 21 September from 10am. For more information, please contact Sittingbourne Watch Manager Neil Ryder on (01622) 692121 ext 5451.