On Call Firefighter Recruitment Campaign

Shropshire firefighters Sally Eynon and Ruth Walkerdine at the taster day with women who want to be firefighters. Left to right: Helena Heath and Gemma Higgins with Julie Collins in the cab and Pam Neill.



A total of 13 people interested in a career as a Shropshire firefighter attended a “taster” session at Prees Fire Station.

Four women turned up to the event organised by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service which wants more women to join its ranks.

Attending the session were women aged between 23 and 54 including a Market Drayton farm manager, a prison service employee, residential care worker and a netball coach.

They learned what it takes to join the county’s 300 plus “on call” fully trained firefighters who deal with around the clock emergencies.

More “on call” fire crew, who live or work within five minutes of a fire station, are needed across the county but in particular in north Shropshire at fire stations in Prees, Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Hodnet, Wem and Market Drayton. They would be needed to turn out for a set number of hours each week to answer 999 calls.

Just four per cent of the county’s firefighters are women – a figure that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to raise.

Gemma Higgins (23), a care worker from Wem, said she was interested because it was “something new” and an “exciting” career. The taster day had been very useful and informative, she said.

Prison service member Julie Collins (33), from Whitchurch, said she would be “definitely” applying to become a firefighter.

Farm Manager Pam Neill (54), from Market Drayton, who works with competition horses, said she wanted to do was “something worthwhile” and community related.

Ex-Army veteran Helena Heath (42), from Wem, who is now a netball coach and doing an online Teaching Assistants course said friends had encouraged her to attend the taster day and a career as a firefighter was something she was very interested in.

There are 15 on call and eight whole time women firefighters in Shropshire. About 80 per cent of the brigade’s firefighters in Shropshire are “on call.”

People of all ages, from all walks of life, become firefighters and turn out for emergency calls day and night and attend drill nights once a week.

“We want to encourage more women and men to become part-time professional firefighters. You would be joining a team of ordinary people doing an extraordinary job for the community,” said Natalie Parkinson, of the county brigade.

“You need to live close to your local fire station, be fit, reliable and able to attend for duty at any time within your agreed hours.

“We provide training, support, promotion opportunities, excellent pay, conditions of service and a strong commitment to equality.”

Anyone interested in becoming an “on call” firefighter can cntact Shrewsbury fire HQ on 01743 260 200 or visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk

Follow the county brigade on Facebook and Twitter.

21st July, 2016