Scottish fire and Rescue Service are encouraging more men and women in Laurencekirk to sign up and enjoy ‘a life less ordinary’ by becoming retained firefighters.
This week the SFRS contacted the Observer to help as the group have been struggling with recruitment in the Mearns area.
Currently Kincardine and Mearns has three stations, Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Inverbervie. The SFRS are particularly keen to speak to anyone in both Laurencekirk and in Stonehaven.
The RDS (Retained Duty System) consists of part time firefighters who provide a vital service to the communities in which they live and work.
Watch Manager at the Laurencekirk Firestation Tom Fleming told the Observer: “I joined Laurencekirk fire station 37 years ago as I’ve always wanted to become a firefighter and give something back to the area I live in. I wanted to make a difference to my community and find it very rewarding.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is also appealing to people who can provide the service with fire cover during the day.
SFRS believes there may be men or women who are at home during the day whilst their children are at school and they could potentially provide fire cover during daytime hours. This specific approach has already been used in Wales and saw a positive response from the public.
To become a retained firefighter you should be eligible to work in the UK and be 18 years or over, preferably live within one mile and work within two miles, or work within eight minutes of your nearest station.
You available to respond to emergency calls via pager from your home or place of work at any time of the day or night, if you are on call that week.
You will also have the permission from your employer to become an RDS firefighter. You’ll also be expected to attend a two and a half hour training session (drill night) once night a week.
You should be available to training courses designed to provide you with the basic training needed to start your role as an RDS firefighter.
Your on-going training and development will be provided at your local fire station. Successful candidates will be subject to a Disclosure Scotland criminal record check.
There is also a financial benefit when you join the retained service with an annual retainer starting at £2158, which is split into monthly payments, together with additional payments for every incident and training night you attend.
Station Manager Stuart Cruickshank said: “We are extremely thankful to our retained crews who already do sterling work across the north and to their employers for their understanding and co-operation.
“Retained firefighters display a tremendous amount of commitment within their communities and it is important for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support those already in the role by trying to attract more people to join.
“We have to consider the welfare of those at the station and bring more people in to bolster the team and allow a greater flexibility for staff in terms of work/life balance.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is also keen to stress that the benefits of the RDS extends to employers.
Stuart added: “There is no financial cost to employers and your employee will receive training from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service worth a significant amount of money in directly transferrable skills.
“Having a retained firefighter working for you will also have tangible benefits for your company, as well as the local community. For example they may have first aid or health and safety skills which will be invaluable.”
He added: “Although there is a commitment by employers it should be manageable.
“The system is very flexible and if there are important commitments at work then these will clearly take precedence over staff’s retained roles.”
One of the most rewarding elements of the RDS role is combining an exciting and rewarding community contribution with the everyday challenges of a day job.
Group Manager Garry Burnett added: “As an RDS firefighter you will not only be making a positive contribution to the safety of your community, but also learning invaluable life and team working skills, which should increase understanding and be welcomed by your employer.
“The time away from your job will be minimal compared to the significant overall benefits your company or business will enjoy. You may be called away to an emergency at very short notice, but the additional skills you will bring to the workplace will more than make up for that.”
“So if you would like to enjoy a real sense of social responsibility, help protect the community in which you live and fancy a ‘life less ordinary’ then get in touch and see how becoming an RDS firefighter could change your life and give you a sense of tremendous satisfaction.”
If you would like to find out more about becoming an RDS firefighter visit the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website www.firescotland.gov.uk or to complete an application form to join the RDS visit www.myjobscotland.gov.uk