Have you got it in you to become a firefighter?

Chris "Jack" Horner and Kev Hunter
Chris "Jack" Horner and Kev Hunter

“Anyone can be a firefighter because we all have our own qualities”.

That’s the opinion of Chris ‘Jack’ Horner, Garstang Fire Service’s unit manager, as they step up their recruitment of retained firefighters across the borough.

There’s quite a few opportunities in the fire service and although it’s challenging, it’s also very rewarding

Chris ‘Jack’ Horner, Garstang Fire Service

Vacancies have appeared at Carnforth, Garstang, Preesall and Longridge and Jack says it’s a job that gives lots of personal satisfaction.

“There’s quite a few opportunities in the fire service and although it’s challenging, it’s also very rewarding,” he said. “Anyone from any background or any age could be right for the job, we all have our own qualities to offer.”

Requirements for the job include a fitness test and attending a two hour training course with participants earning a salary almost immediately. Retained firefighters often have another job and will provide on-call cover from home or their place of work.

They respond to emergencies when their pager alerts them and so must live or work within five minutes of the station.

Retained firefighters are usually asked to give between 60-120 hours a week but shift patterns and hours of cover vary from station to station.

Jack said: “The job can be quite tying at times as when you’re on call you can’t even nip to the shops in case your pager goes off and you’re too far away from the station.

“It’s just a matter of planning what you want to do around your shifts and something I’ve got used to now.”

Jack says it takes around four years to become fully qualified although it can happen much quicker depending on the motivation of the individual.

“If you do extra courses and really take on board what is taught in each session then you can be fully trained in under four years,” said the 41-year-old.

“There’s several areas of training that will be covered including first aid, fire drills, breathing aparatus and trauma care.

“You may also be asked to attend road traffic accidents and other incidents while you’re training which again helps to speed up the training as you’re practicing what you’ve learnt. Your starting salary increases as you become more qualified and you begin to gain more qualifications.”

The fire service is now recruiting and for anyone who wants to apply the job description, the relevant application forms and station contacts can be found on the Lancashire Fire and Rescue website - www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/jobs/current-vacancies