Remarkable recruits wanted by fire and rescue service

Posted On 03 Jul 2021 at 2:37 pm

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said that it was looking for “ordinary people who can make a remarkable difference by becoming the firefighters of the future”.

It is the fire service’s first significant recruiting campaign for 10 years as bosses look to line up replacements for dozens of firefighters prepare to retire.

The fire service, which has three fire stations in Brighton and Hove, employs about 800 people, including almost 350 wholetime firefighters.

Spacewords Brighton

The jobs pay a basic salary of almost £32,000 a year once a recruit has qualified as a “competent firefighter”, according to a report earlier this year.

The report – to East Sussex Fire Authority (the councillors who oversee the service) – said that wholetime firefighters were those “who work 42 hours a week to crew stations 24 hours a day”.

They could be “firefighters located at the station or … firefighters located at the station during the day and responding from their own homes on an on-call basis at night or (those) who work in specialist areas such as technical fire safety”.

The fire service said: “New recruits will join a fire and rescue service that works as hard to prevent emergencies as they do responding to them.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue is involved in a wide range of activities from teaching children about staying safe to fitting smoke alarms and working in partnership with other organisations.

“Being a firefighter is so much more than just putting out fires, it is an immensely rewarding career.

“We value diversity and recognise that different people bring different experiences, ideas, knowledge and culture and that this difference brings great strength.

“We want our workforce to be more reflective of society.”

Earlier this year the chief fire officer Dawn Whittaker told councillors that the fire service “had already been determinedly recruiting diversity into volunteers and cadets”.

Dawn Whittaker

This week, as recruiting started, she said: “I firmly believe that unless we do our very best to get everyone to consider a role in the fire and rescue service then we can’t be sure we are choosing the very best to serve our community.

“We have spent the last couple of months trying to encourage people who may never have thought of becoming a firefighter to find out more.

“We hope that anyone who hears about this recruitment will find out more and take a long look at just what an amazing opportunity this is.”

The fire service said: “Firefighters need a combination of physical strength and stamina, strength of character and compassion.

“Also important are confidence, resilience, an ability to communicate effectively and a commitment to equality and diversity.”

Two senior firefighters who have served in Brighton and Hove shared their views.

Bex Washington

Watch manager Bex Washington: “My 15-year career in the fire service has so far been a combination of fun, variety and hard work.

“It has been intellectually, mentally, emotionally and physically challenging but the reward of helping to save peoples’ lives and supporting those in need makes it one of the most amazing jobs you can do.

“Working within some fantastic and varied teams makes the hard days easier and the good days even better.

“If you’re able to ‘think outside the box’, motivate yourself and work as a team then the fire service has a myriad of options for you.”

Group manager Chris Baker said: “As a firefighter, you will need to be ready to learn both through formal training and lectures and every day throughout your career as you attend incidents or carry out community work.

“The initial training is very focused on giving you the right skills to begin working with us and then you get to experience what it’s like being part of a team on station and in our communities.”

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