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08 January 2019

Get the call - become a professional firefighter

Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is working with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) as part of a national campaign encouraging people to become On-call Firefighters.

The 'Need More' awareness week runs from 7th January 2019 and aims to highlight opportunities available in the fire service, while busting myths about what it takes to be a firefighter.

The campaign is supported by a national website Need More - www.oncallfire.uk - which encourages people to get in touch with their local fire service anytime throughout the year.

Cumbria has 370 On-call Firefighters who are ‘on call’ to respond to a range of emergencies. They can still have another job until the call comes and then they become a professional firefighter.

On-call Firefighters operate from 36 fire stations throughout the county and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has a number of vacancies across its fire stations (see full list below).

Cllr Janet Willis, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Fire and Rescue, said: "On-call Firefighters are an integral part of our service and community. We are keen to encourage anyone who thinks they may have the right skills to find out what they can offer us - and in return, what we can offer you."

Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer Steve Healey said: “On-call firefighters are very important members of the fire and rescue team and play a crucial role in our communities. They are called upon to attend the full range of incidents, often working alongside full-time firefighter colleagues. The National Awareness Week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the great work that our On-call Firefighters do all year round and to try and attract more potential applicants.”

On-call Firefighters come from every walk of life, including homemakers, shopkeepers, builders, farmers, office workers and directors of companies, together with people who are not currently employed. Full training is provided on an ongoing basis, therefore previous experience is not needed. An On-call Firefighter could be called out two or three times a week, for a few hours at a time but at some quieter fire stations they may only be called once or twice each month. The on-call hours are based around people’s availability and other commitments.

To be an On-call Firefighter, you must:

  • Have a strong desire to support the local community.
  • Be enthusiastic about working as part of a team.
  • Have a reasonable level of personal fitness.
  • Live or/and work within 5 minutes of your local fire station.

Terry McDermott, NFCC On-Call Lead and Chief Fire Officer for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "If being a firefighter is something that appeals to you, but you already have a career or other commitments, now is the chance for you to find out if you can still make it happen.”  

“On-call Firefighters are crucial to the work of the Fire and Rescue service, and we want to make sure our fire services reflect all local communities. So, if you want to receive world class training, work as part of a fantastic team and help your local community, we need to hear from you. There's lots of flexibility to work around other commitments such as family, studying or work, but if you don't get in touch you'll never know."

To find out more about becoming a firefighter, go to the Need More website - www.oncallfire.uk. The website also gives advice to employers and how having On-call Firefighters within their business can bring advantages. These include health and safety and medical response training, as well as developing situational awareness, leadership skills and the ability to work under pressure.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service currently have on-call firefighter vacancies at the following fire stations:

Alston, Ambleside, Arnside, Barrow, Bootle, Broughton, Cockermouth, Coniston, Egremont, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkby Stephen, Longtown, Milnthorpe, Patterdale, Seascale, Sedbergh, Shap, Silloth, Walney, Windermere, Whitehaven and Workington. 

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service recognises the importance of On-call Firefighters. The Service recently held special Appreciation and Recognition events at all of the county’s 36 on-call fire stations. These events were an opportunity to thank our On-call Firefighters for their hard work, dedication and commitment, and also to recognise the support they receive from their families and their employers which enables them to be on call.


Cumbria County Councils Fire and Rescue Service is working with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) as part of a national campaign encouraging people to become On-call Firefighters.