Residents in Rossington, Stocksbridge, Askern, Penistone and Dearne are being challenged to step up and join their local fire crews, as the county’s fire service launches another on-call firefighter recruitment drive.
New vacancies have arisen at the stations in each of these four towns – with more staff needed to keep the fire engines’ wheels turning and respond to fires, floods, road traffic collisions and other emergency incidents.
Fire officers say there has never been a better time to join the service, with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue being rated as one of the country’s leading fire and rescue services in its last Government inspection.
“Our message to local people is simple – we need them!” said Station Manager Chris Tyler, who oversees the service’s on-call fire stations.
“On-call firefighters get the same training as wholetime staff, but they don’t work shifts. Instead, they carry a pager and respond from work and home when needed.
“This is one of the most unique jobs in the world as it requires a huge amount of commitment, bravery and determination.
“What we are asking is for people to consider making themselves available to respond to emergencies on top of their existing jobs and personal family commitments.
“It’s a big ask, but it’s also a huge opportunity and an exciting time to join our service. We need incredible people to fill our boots, and we know they are out there somewhere.”
Prospective on-call firefighters are required to live or work within five minutes of their local station, so they are able to get on the fire engine quickly if needed.
Calls can come in at all times of day and night – with existing staff claiming the adrenaline rush that comes with getting a call is one of the best parts of the job.
On-call crews are used right across the country to provide fire cover to more remote areas, with firefighters getting a ‘retainer fee’ for being on stand by, plus an hourly rate on top.
Recently, on-call staff have been involved in battling the flurry of wildfires attended by the service during the July and August heatwaves.
Officers say that without them, the service wouldn’t be able to run.
“We’ve long known how valuable our on-call crews are, but you only have to look at the heatwave we experienced in July to see how important they are.
“Some of our staff finished a day at work, got changed and then got on the fire engine to help deal with the unprecedented demand we faced – on the hottest day of the year.
“Their commitment is incredible and I’d encourage anyone who feels they would like a challenge to get on our website and give us their details. We’ll be in touch.”