VALE residents who want to find out more about life as an on-call firefighter have been invited to an open evening at the town’s fire station.
Evesham Fire Station will open its doors on Monday (November 18) at 7pm for a chance to meet the crews, learn about training and try some of the equipment
All 27 fire stations in Herefordshire and Worcestershire include on-call firefighters – men and women who are aged 18 and above, who live or work within five minutes of the fire station, and who can commit to being on-call for a minimum of 40 hours of each week.
They form more than 60 per cent of the operational firefighters.
For Luke Rose, it was a desire to prove people wrong and his own stubborn streak that led him to become an on-call firefighter.
“I have very little vision in my right eye and was always told that I had no chance of a career in the police, the military or the fire service,” said the 30-year-old.
“But I got talking to one of the Broadway on-call firefighters and was told it wouldn’t be a problem.
“I was a carpenter at the time and I thought that I would give it a go – it’s part of serving your community but I’ve always enjoyed an adrenaline rush and believed this would appeal to my sense of adventure.”
So, five years ago, Luke decided to take the plunge and sign up.
“My employers were very understanding,” he said. “As long as my work was up to date, they had no problems and, as a building restoration firm, they could see a very positive side in supporting the fire service by having an on-call firefighter on their staff.”
During the last five years, Luke has experienced all sorts of call-outs, but it’s a couple of the quirky ones which stick in his mind.
“People look at me a little strangely when I tell them we rescued a cow from a tree,” he said. “But there was a tree growing in a river and the cow slipped down the bank and got stuck.
“And there was also a cat-in-a-tree incident where the cat was called Meow – there was something extremely humorous in seeing a group of firefighters at the foot of a tree, shaking food boxes and calling ‘Meow’! Not a sight I shall forget!”
For Luke, it has meant a further progression as he has taken the next step to become a wholetime firefighter.
“I just found that the job suited me,” he said. “I loved being a carpenter, but I really enjoyed being a firefighter. Every day is different and you’re always on your toes.”
On-call firefighters combine their roles with other careers, or roles at home, providing a vital service to the community in which they live and work.
Visit www.hwfire.org.uk/on-call or the fire station on Monday evening.