A firefighter is encouraging others to train up as on-call firefighters, who play a vital role in their local communities. Danielle Whitham lives within five minutes of her local fire station in Silsden and has joined up as an on-call recruit, where she attends emergencies if she’s needed.
On-call firefighters work in areas where there are fewer emergency incidents, so firefighters don’t need to be on station all of the time. Instead they get paged if needed to go to the station, from where they jump on a fire engine and off to an emergency incident.
People can be on call as long as they’re in the area – they could be working another job (with their employer’s permission), at the gym, or even getting on with daily chores.
Danielle said: “It’s really easy to be an on call firefighter – through the day or night! You just put your pager on and go to work close by or stay home and do whatever until there’s a call out. To get on to it I did an amazing 15 week course that you can split up into different blocks if you want.
“I find balancing my life with this really easy. If you need time off you just let the station know. The easiest time to be on call is obviously when you’re sleeping, but if I’m having a lazy day at the weekend I’m on call then too. It’s so easy! I only get called out on average twice a month – I don’t get calls all the time – though it can often be when I least expect it!”
Danielle is an on-call firefighter in her local area but also qualified as a wholetime firefighter last year. She urges people from all walks of life to give it a go and not to be put off by stereotypes.
She added: “Being a woman doesn’t stand in my way – the lads don’t treat you any differently, women work with men in any other job, it’s a normal thing. We all get on really well and it’s just like one big team.
“You do have to be physically fit, but I was the smallest on my course and I did it! It’s all in your mind really, if you want to do it you can. If you’re motivated and passionate you will do well.
“I’d tell anyone to do it, it’s not as hard as you might think, quite easy and relaxed in fact, until you get an emergency incident when the adrenaline starts. As soon as the alert goes off your mind just switches and you get in the game.”
And Danielle said being an on-call firefighter is extremely fulfilling.
She said: “The best part is serving your community – my family and friends live in this area so it’s nice to know that I’m there to help protect them if an emergency happens.
“It’s an amazing feeling. You also get extra money, free use of the gym and get to work in a great team. I just love representing West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service – it’s amazing to go out and tell people you are a firefighter – what better job is there really?”
If you feel inspired by Danielle (pictured right with Chief Fire Officer John Roberts) and live or work in Meltham, Featherstone, Holmfirth, Ilkley, Mirfield, Mytholmroyd, Otley, Silsden, Skelmanthorpe or Slaithwaite then visit our website below;
Or simply call in for a chat at your local station!
ON CALL FACT FILE
Location – Live and/or work within one mile of the fire station you wish to work at, or be able to get there within five minutes of receiving an emergency call, travelling at normal road speed. You could also run, walk or cycle if this is easier.
About you – Be 18 or over on commencement of employment, and eligible to work in the UK. Be physically well, including good eyesight with higher than average levels of strength, endurance and aerobic fitness. Hold literacy and numeracy Level 2 qualifications. Have a full UK driving licence.
Commitments – The minimum commitment is usually 50 hours a week, but still get in touch for a chat with us if you think you can offer less. You will also attend training drills once a week at your local station.