Fire service turns up the heat to recruit new staff

Jack and Glen McWilliams.
Jack and Glen McWilliams.
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POTENTIAL firefighters can learn more about the service as two north Northumberland stations make a push for new officers.

Applicants have until Friday, March 9 to put themselves forward for a position as a Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service on-call officer.

Wooler and Berwick need more retained firefighters and both stations will be running open evenings so that men and women of all ages and backgrounds can find out more about the role and the service.

The Wooler event will take place at the fire station on South Road between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday, February 23, while the Berwick open day willl run from noon to 4pm at the station in Tweedmouth on Sunday, February 12.

Wooler crew members, father and son Glen and Jack McWilliams, are just two of the 12 on-call firefighters who will be available at Wooler Station to answer questions at the open evening.

Glen, who has been an on-call firefighter in Wooler for eight years, said: “It’s a very rewarding job. I enjoy the adrenaline of working in an emergency service and helping people.

“You’re recognised in the community for what you do and it’s good to be part of such a close-knit crew. The training is very thorough and I’ve used my first aid skills many times outside of work.”

Glen and Jack are self-employed and run The Chocolate Box sweet shop in Wooler. Although initially a bit reluctant to join the service before realising what it entailed, since joining two years ago Jack is now a dedicated member of the crew.

Glen said: “I would encourage people to come along to the open evening and find out more about the service and how it can fit around your work and life. On average we are called out six times per month.

The crew is a mix of self-employed people and those who work for companies. We’re very grateful to those employers who accommodate their employees during call-outs.

“There are benefits for employers too as they gain the expertise of a trained first aider who can help with fire safety assessments in the workplace.”

On-call firefighters are paid a retaining fee of between £1,587 and £2,821 per year with an hourly rate of £10.06 while in training. On top of that, retrained firefighters are paid for any incidents they are called out to and for involvement in community safety activities.

Retained duty system (on-call) firefighters can combine their role with another job. All that is asked is that they are available to respond to a call and reach the retained fire station within five minutes.

For further details and an application form, contact Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service HR Department on 01670 591123 or Fire.Recruitment@nothumberland.gov.uk