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Commercial Services
What is an On-call Firefighter?

On-call crews are paid, trained professionals working to the same high standards as wholetime firefighters and they will need to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more, where all crews work alongside each other.

Apart from a few hours a week for training sessions and to carry out other pre-arranged duties, on-call firefighters only attend the fire station when they have received an emergency callout. For much of the time, an on-call fire station is not crewed. Each on-call firefighter carries a pocket pager, which is activated when they are needed and they have a maximum of 5 minutes to report to the fire station and mobilise the necessary appliance(s).

On-call firefighters will have other occupations, but when the call comes they drop whatever they are doing and become part of a highly motivated team. Depending on the type of cover given, an on-call firefighter may respond from home
and / or work, day and / or night.

Call rates vary from station to station with some on-call stations responding to over 800 calls a year and others responding to less than 50. On average you can expect to be called out 2 or 3 times a week for perhaps a couple of hours.

In addition when you really can’t spare the time, you can sign off duty, providing there are enough staff available to crew the appliance for that period.

Devon & Somerset FRS have several types of on-call contract with different levels of commitment based around the hours of cover you can offer. A full rate contract is usually based on offering 84 hours of cover per week and a reduced rate contract is 63 hours per week. The service use an electronic system for recording availability, which is pre-populated with each crew member’s availability. Dependent upon the level of commitment provided and crewing levels the time on-call can be varied.

On-call firefighters are paid, trained professionals firefighters who carry out similar duties of a wholetime firefighter. You will need to carry out initial training before you can safely respond to emergency call outs. There will be some on station training and attendance at a training centre. on-call firefighting is a professional role which can offer progressive career opportunities. If you have a primary employer, we can help explain the realities and benefits to them.


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