News release text
“It was something I always wanted to do and, even after all these years, when the pager goes off I think, this is why I joined,” says Alan Campkin, an on-call firefighter at Hoo for almost 30 years who is now urging others to join as part of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s countywide recruitment campaign.
Alan, who is married with three children and four grandchildren, is on-call for KFRS as well as working at the local papermill. During his service, he has attended numerous incidents including major fires at Kingsnorth and Strood, as well as many within the local area where he has lived for over 30 years.
He said: “You do remember the awful incidents and it is difficult when it’s someone you know but the comradeship of the station and with other stations is great and you’re helping the community you live in, as well as Kent as a whole.
“When you’re part-time, everyone lives in the area they serve and we have a great team here; a good mixture of experienced long-serving firefighters and a new recruit at Hoo but we do need more people to join us and this really could be a job for anyone.”
Hoo is one of 27 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.
Alan, who provides on-call cover for KFRS over a mixture of days and weekends, added: “We’ve been quite quirky at Hoo over the years as we’ve had three father-and-sons plus a husband and wife all working here at the same time. My own son served with me for 14 years before he moved to London Fire Brigade so it shows it’s a real community set up and hopefully it will appeal to all sorts of people.”
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 Hoo area who thinks they may be interested, is invited to attend an information evening on Wednesday 18 September from 4pm to 9pm.