When Josh Hughes isn’t firing up the grill in the kitchen where he works, he’s an on-call firefighter with Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
The 22-year-old is a chef at The Ship Inn, in his hometown of Dymchurch, where he also provides day and evening cover at the fire station in Mill Road.
He said: “I used to walk past the station on my way to school and I’d always look through the doors, hoping I’d see the fire engine’s blue lights or hear the sirens.
“Now, being part of Kent Fire and Rescue Service in the community where I grew up, and being able to help and give back to the people I see every day walking down the street, gives me a great sense of pride and honour.”
When Josh is in his chef whites, he carries his KFRS pager, which is one of the requirements of being all on-call firefighter. Another necessity of the role is to live or work within five minutes of a fire station, so when their pager sounds, crews can quickly be on a fire engine and on their way to an incident.
Josh has the full support and understanding of his employers at The Ship Inn, including managers James Tindall and Jess Walton, who see his additional skills as an asset to their business.
James said: “It has been known that we’ll be in the middle of a really busy service, Josh’s pager will go off and just like that, he has to go. But, it’s ok, as we have a great team of people who are ready to jump in and help.
“We understand being an on-call firefighter is a really important role, and it’s something we both admire and would want to support in any way that we can.”
Jess added: “The hospitality industry is very flexible when it comes to shifts and hours, so it’s easy to make it work with Josh. He’s a great team player and a valuable member of the team.
“If anyone has the flexibility to accommodate an on-call firefighter within their business, then we’d absolutely recommend doing so.”
On-call firefighters are expected to undertake and attend training at least once per week, and be available for at least 50 hours a week. They receive an annual wage to reflect the time they commit to being available, plus additional payments for certain activities.
If you would like to find out more about on-call opportunities at KFRS, please click here.
Please note, footage for this video was recorded prior to current government Covid-19 guidelines.