News release text
The first new recruits are being trained to work at Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s new station at Ash-cum-Ridley in north Kent. It is one of the new stations to be built across the county over the next few years and is part of a project to ensure KFRS stations are in the right location to meet the modern day needs of the communities it serves.
“I live in the village with my wife Claire, two teenage daughters and six year old son” said 50-year-old Andy Short, who has been helping his wife with her local clothing business, since retiring from the Police two years ago.
“This opportunity seemed tailor made for my circumstances. It allows me to still assist Claire and help my local community. The strong team ethic and that element of starting the day not knowing exactly what’s going to happen and finishing the day having actually made a difference really appeals to me.”
Andy will be joined by three other recruits; 23-year-old Adam West, a property manager in emergency planning and business continuity, who lives in the village with his parents and two older brothers. Adam said: “I was looking for a new challenge that was more active and hands-on as I spend most of my working day sat behind a desk.
“I’ve found the training challenging but very rewarding so far and we’ve covered so much with lots of drills. The crews have been so supportive, they are just as keen to improve our skills and training as we are. It’s the best supportive structure in an organisation I’ve worked with and I’m loving every minute of it.”
Mark Watson a 25-year-old vehicle technician said: “The opportunity to give something back in my spare time is the reason I applied. The training has been intense but fun and it’s been great getting out, doing so many different things.”
Retail manager and part-time children’s gymnastics coach, 22-year-old Jonathan Sumner added: “I’m most looking forward to being able to make a difference in my local community and having a job to be proud of. The camaraderie and team work on station is really apparent. Everyone really enjoys their job and has a very positive attitude. I’m nervous but excited all at the same time but am looking forward to helping people and stopping buildings from burning down.”
All four recruits will be stationed at the new on-call fire station which is being built at Ash-cum-Ridley. Work began on the station in February and is due to be operational in September 2013.
Team Performance Manager, Phil Rice, said: “Having completed an induction weekend, six weekly training evenings at Swanscombe Fire Station and then a two week training course, the new recruits are continuing their training at Dartford and Thames-side Fire Stations.
“This will give them the opportunity to experience working with the wide range of innovative firefighting equipment KFRS uses to help keep the people of Kent safe including: our all terrain vehicles, hydraulic rescue equipment and specialist technology which can cut through concrete and rapidly reduce the temperature of building fires.”
If you live or work within five minutes of the new Ash-cum-Ridley station and are interested in working part time as an on-call firefighter, we are keen to hear from you. Anyone can register their interest via the KFRS website www.kentfirejobs.info or come along and talk to KFRS staff on:
Saturday, 22 June from 1.30pm to 4pm at the Ash-cum-Ridley fete
Saturday, 6 July from 1pm to 4pm at the New Ash Green fun day
Phil added: “There is sometimes a bit of a stereotype of who can be an on-call firefighter and we want to challenge that. This could be a great job for all kinds of people. So if anyone is looking for extra shifts, or perhaps an additional challenge over and above the day job, then this could be for them.”
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 or work. However, if they are called, they must be able to drop what they are doing and get to the station within five minutes. The contracted hours will be based on what the station needs to deal with the risk in the area.
Requirements include being over 18, physically fit, with good levels of reading and writing and you must be able to reach the new station within five minutes. Full training is provided.
Note to Newsdesks:
Visit www.kentfire-uk.org for more information on the new station and www.kentfirephotos.co.uk for photos of the new recruits (image numbers 5341-5344) and to view computer simulated pictures of what the new station will look like (image numbers 5300 and 5301).