News release text
Saving lives and dealing with emergency situations is nothing new to James Heath, a paramedic with the London Ambulance Service, who swaps his ambulance for a fire engine as an on-call firefighter for Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS).
“The camaraderie at our station is great and being an on-call firefighter is a really good way to make new friends who share similar interests, while doing something worthwhile for your local community” said the 32-year-old dad of two. “Its also helped me in so many aspects of my life and given me the opportunity to gain a range of new skills such as using rescue equipment to treating those injured at the scene.”
James responds to a pager if needed and has to be at Westerham Fire Station and ready to respond within five minutes of being called. He joined KFRS in 2008 and during that time has helped people trapped in car crashes to helping to save a local 15th century tavern after fire broke out in one of the bedrooms.
Westerham 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.
James explains how he manages his time as a paramedic and provides on call cover for KFRS: “I work a shift system for the Ambulance Service but my contract with KFRS allows me to commit the hours that I am available. It means I can easily balance my work and family life and gives me the flexibility of a rota and annual leave. I would strongly recommend the job to anyone interested in doing something worthwhile in their local community.”
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 www.kentfirejobs.info
The current recruitment campaign is open until 30 September. Anyone living in the Edenbridge, Sevenoaks or Westerham areas who thinks they may be interested, is invited to attend an information evening at Sevenoaks Fire Station on Wednesday 4 September between 7pm and 9pm. For more information, please email Westerham Watch Manager Vicki Brown Vicki.firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01622 692121 ext. 7448
Note to newdesks:
If you would like more information, please contact the KFRS press office on (01622) 212425.
Photos of James Heath are available at www.kentfirephotos.co.uk image numbers 5392 and 5393.