Volunteer Response Team (VRT) - Volunteer

The Volunteer Response Team (VRT) is a team of around 25 volunteers that provides support 24/7 at operational incidents focusing on customer and crew welfare throughout Kent and Medway.

The team includes a VRT Lead member and five duty mobilisers who arrange for a team to attend incidents as required. The role is to work closely with partner agencies such as British Red Cross, Kent Resilience Team and Local Authority Housing Departments to provide support to our customers affected by incidents. Welfare (refreshment) support is also offered to operational staff and partners prior to the mobilisation and arrival of the community Rapid Relief Team or Salvation Army. The VRT has a response time aim of 60 minutes.

Together we are all one team and, with our volunteers acting as our ambassadors, we are helping to make a difference to people’s lives – whoever they are.

Purpose of role  

This volunteer role provides valuable customer support and assistance to crews at operational incidents. This support enables Operational and Customer Safety colleagues to continue with their core duties. The role is to work alongside other agencies providing practical and emotional support to customers and welfare to crews, where required.

Context of role

The VRT currently consists of around 20 volunteers who cover a 24-hour duty rota system. We are now looking to increase the team to 25 members. In addition to providing practical and emotional support to customers and welfare to crews, members of the team are also available for logistical support by being able to drive service pool vehicles and minibuses (PCVs).

Key activities  

  • Assisting customers with practical and emotional support alongside the Red Cross Vehicle (RCV), partner and voluntary agencies with welfare tasks such as rehoming, insurance liaison, boarding up and medical supplies etc.
  • Welfare to customers and crews including other emergency service personnel.
  • Warning and informing the public to keep them safe
  • Identifying and checking on customers who have additional needs
  • Supporting the Kent Resilience Team with local flood warden duty requests
  • Evacuation duties
  • Delivery of equipment to incidents where required
  • Support for customers/crews for deceased or injured domestic small animals because of a domestic fire. This may also include provision of small animal boxes where needed but will not involve any transportation of animals
  • Any other tasks to free up operational crews such as liaison and awaiting attendance of utilities, local authority representatives etc.
  • Post-incident activity such as supporting neighbours and other residents
  • Providing community reassurance/information through conversations or leaflets
  • Supporting the work to refer people for a Safe and Well Visit.
  • Assisting customer, partner, and voluntary agencies with delivery of welfare supplies and/or getting back to normal tasks

Skills and qualities required

  • Be able to take instructions from the Officer in Charge of the Incident, Fire Control staff or VRT Lead/Mobiliser
  • Understand and be able to always adhere to KFRS/ VRT processes and protocols
  • Be reliable and able to behave in a professional manner
  • Have the time available to attend incidents regularly where required.
  • Be trustworthy, trusted and act in good faith regarding people and their personal information
  • Enjoy working as part of a team and follow our Volunteer Code of Ethical Conduct
  • Be able and willing to volunteer within set processes and expectations
  • You will need to be a good communicator and enjoy engaging with members of the public, KFRS and other partner organisations
  • Be open minded, supportive, and non-judgemental
  • Be compassionate and a good listener
  • Have good verbal, numeracy, and computer skills
  • Be passionate about promoting customer safety
  • Be flexible and able to adapt to busy and changing environments
  • Possess energy and confidence when interacting with our customers

Support and training

All VRT members will attend an induction programme and will then undertake VRT basic training which covers:

  • VRT Incident Procedures
  • Fire Ground Training
  • Radio Procedures
  • Flood Warden Training
  • Water Safety Level 1
  • Food Hygiene and Manual Handling.
  • IOSH Working Safely course

Volunteers will undertake a period of shadowing experienced team members. 

It is expected that all members of the team will attend regular debrief meetings, training, and exercises.

Health & Safety and confidentiality

All Volunteers must always follow KFRS Health and Safety Policies and Procedures as they have a duty to take care of themselves and others who might be affected by their actions.

Volunteers must adhere to the Data Protection Act 1998 when obtaining and collating any Customer information.

Trial period

A trial period of three months in this role will begin on completion of shadowing sessions and undertaking team member duties. A review meeting will take place at the end of this time to discuss the suitability of the role.

Locations

All locations within Kent and Medway. Priority attendance at incidents will be requested of team members who are closest to the incident according to availability and experience. 

Time commitment

We ask our team members to commit to being regularly available for six shifts per week (with a reasonable percentage of attendance when requested). Three shifts are available per day (day, evening and overnight). It is likely that you will be called to attend an incident on approximately two or three occasions per month. On average, you can expect that two or three VRT members will attend each incident and will work together at the incident scene as a team. Attendance at incidents can vary but would normally be a maximum of up to five hours in duration.

Expenses

You will be reimbursed for agreed travel and out of pocket expenses.

How to apply

This role is not currently available to apply for - sorry.