Have a go at being a firefighter in Swanage

Swanage Fire Station is offering those keen on becoming a paid on-call firefighter, the chance to find out what it’s really like.

It’s recruiting new crew members and is offering two ‘have a go’ sessions with the first on Friday 8th September from 5 pm to 7.30 pm, and the second on Saturday 9th September 2023 from 10 am to 1 pm.

Swanage Fire station training

Swanage Fire Station has two pumps and it needs eight people – four on each vehicle – for both of the engines to attend an incident

Provide a taster

There’s no need to book as interested people are being encouraged to just turn up during the sessions, which will provide a taste of what the training and the job itself involves.

There will be opportunities to climb the ladder on the training tower, drag a dummy body round the yard, check out the equipment including cutting tools for road traffic collisions, test the breathing apparatus, take a tour of the station and of course, have a look at the fire vehicles.

Ideally, Swanage Fire Station is looking for people who could provide fire cover during the day. Anyone – male or female – must be over 18 years, live within a five minute drive of the station and be able to pass the fitness tests. There’s no upper age limit or height requirement.

Swanage Fire station training

Training takes place every Tuesday evening at Swanage Fire Station

Paid professionals

On-call firefighters are paid professionals, who do the same work as their wholetime colleagues.

Unlike wholetime firefighters, they are not based at the fire station but have other jobs and commitments, responding to emergencies only when their alerter goes off.

They are usually contracted for between 40 and 120 hours of cover per week, but this can vary. Between them, the fire station team provides cover for weekdays, evenings, nights and weekends.

Nick Corben at Swanage Fire station training

Newly appointed Swanage station commander Nick Corben

“It is a commitment”

Swanage station commander Nick Corben said:

“It is a commitment as it involves more than just turning up to fires – there’s also training every Tuesday evening plus courses to attend.

“Once a person has met the initial recruitment tests then they need to complete two weeks of basic training, followed by two weeks of learning how to use breathing apparatus. This can eat into a person’s holiday leave but it is paid.”

Swanage Fire station training
Swanage Fire station training

This training session included building a reservoir to provide more water for fighting a fire

“It’s more of a lifestyle”

The sort of people who this role may suit include the self-employed, those working from home, those with understanding and flexible employers, and possibly stay-at-home parents while their children are at school.

Nick added:

“The biggest bonus to the job is the nice feeling that you’re giving back to the community. Eighty percent of the time when you turn up to an incident, you know the people involved. You’re there to help them and it’s good for them to see a friendly face.

“You learn life skills including building confidence for dealing with day to day life, better communication skills, first aid, and can get to go on driving courses. It is possible to get a LGV licence.

“However it’s not just a part time job, it’s more of a lifestyle. The pager can go off at the most inconvenient times but the positives outweigh the negatives, otherwise we wouldn’t do it!”

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