These ‘on-call’ responders are paid to attend the same emergencies as their full-time counterparts.
But rather than being station based, retained firefighters remain on-call to the service, ready to respond if and when they are needed.
To qualify for the role, they must live within eight minutes’ drive of their nearest station and be at least 18.
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They also need to have a good level of fitness but no experience is required, as full training is provided.
Stephen Kennedy, group manager for community risk and response at Northumberland Fire and Rescue, paid tribute to the part-time army of responders, describing them as “incredibly important”.
He said: “Our on-call firefighters are incredibly important for us to keep our residents safe, and are very well respected in their communities.
“We are lucky to work with businesses across the county who understand the importance of supporting the local fire station, and are able to be an on-call firefighter employer.
"We recognise the commitment in doing this, and so present the business with a plaque from the fire service to say thank you."
And more than half of Northumberland firefighters are on-call officers, playing an integral and vital Fire role in their communities.
If you meet the criteria and are interested in becoming an on-call firefighter, go online at www.northumberlandfireandrescue.gov.uk