Station needs crew members

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ilkeston Fire Station’s commander is encouraging local people to sign up as on-call firefighters.

Gary Platts told the Advertiser that Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service relies on on-call crews and that without them Ilkeston’s second engine could be left sitting at the station when 999 calls come in.

He said: “We need more on-call firefighters to ensure that the town is covered by two engines at all times.

“Half of the county’s firefighters are part time which just shows how important on-call staff are.

“In Ilkeston we have a second engine manned by on-call staff who all live or work in the community but we need more dedicated people to take on the role.”

Most on-call firefighters have a full time job as well as their role in the fire service.

On-call watch manager at Ilkeston, Jon Rice, has been an on-call firefighter for 20 years.

He also does shift work and fits his firefighter role around his day job.

He said: “The main attribute you need is one of commitment – not just from the on-call firefighter but also from your family or partner.

“Once your alerter has gone off you have to be able to drop everything.

“You could be at a family function, working, shopping with your partner and children and you will have to leave them where they are, take the car and answer the call.

“If the call comes when you are asleep, you find yourself trying to keep quiet while you dress in the dark, drive to the station, get into fire kit while the officer-in-charge tells you what the incident is and then onto the appliance and away all in five minutes.

“It is a massive commitment but being an on-call firefighter means that you play an active part in putting something worthwhile back into your community and you get a real buzz from that and it makes it all worthwhile.”

Recruits need to live or work within five minutes or one mile of their local fire station.

Gary said: “There are so many people out here that might read this and think they like the sound of it but then think themselves out of it but we need people from all walks of life.

“Housewives are a perfect example, they might go out in the morning and drop the kids to school then they could be on-call all day until fetching them back and be on call again in the evening.

“You get paid for it, full training is provided and there are other benefits as well.”

Anyone interested can call 01332 777018 or visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk.