Applications are now open to recruit the next group of wholetime firefighters for Norfolk.
‘We’re excited to be starting the search for Norfolk’s future firefighters as we move into a busy phase for our service,’ said Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council. ‘It takes a special someone to be a firefighter, but many people within our communities will already have the attributes we are looking for.’
Being a modern firefighter is much more than fighting fires, as crew members also respond to many other types of emergencies and also carry out prevention and protection activities to keep communities safe.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service is recruiting for 16 wholetime firefighters at its stations across Norfolk. Wholetime firefighters work a shift pattern of fours shifts on (two days, two nights) and then four days off.
Full training is given but the role suits people who are reasonably fit, like working as part of a team, enjoy helping people and want to make a real difference in their community.
Crews attend all kinds of emergencies including fires, rescues from height and confined spaces, road traffic collisions, flooding incidents and animal rescues. They also help to promote measures that reduce risk, such as fitting smoke alarms in homes, reducing hoarding, closing fire doors and having a clear planned escape route if the worst should happen. This education work within communities is a vital part of the role of a firefighter.
‘The role of a firefighter is varied and interesting, but ultimately it’s about wanting to support your local community and working to protect it and to prevent fires and other emergencies from happening,’ said Chief Fire Officer Tim Edwards.
The service recently held some taster sessions for people to find out more about the role, but applicants don’t need to have attended one to be able to apply.
The application window runs from 9 to 29 May. Find out more at www.norfolk.gov.uk/fire
Ellie Mason, Sprowston:
‘I did a degree in journalism and media and started working in an office as a social media executive. I had first got into health and fitness in my first year at university, and at work I quickly realised that I wanted to do something that involved being more active.
‘I went to visit a couple of fire stations when I moved back to Norfolk in 2019, as I wanted to find out more. There are so many different elements to the job of a firefighter you need to be sure you will be able to cope with different situations.
‘I tested how I coped with different elements, such as working at height and in confined spaces, as well as finding out about the fitness levels required. I carried on working hard with my fitness to prepare for when the recruitment opened in 2020, as I really wanted to give it my best shot.
‘I’ve tried all sorts of different classes, including body building, power lifting and cross fit. I applied in 2020 and starting training in February 2021, so I am halfway through my apprenticeship.
‘Anyone interested in health and fitness and who wants to help people should think about applying. It’s definitely not a 9 to 5 job but I love that every day is so different.’
Chloe Peek, Carrow:
Chloe’s previous employment includes a career as a hairdresser and more recently a paralegal. She joined her first gym at 17 and wanted to combine her passion for fitness with a rewarding career.
‘Maintaining health and fitness has always been important to me. However, I always viewed the fire service as male dominated and that I wouldn’t be strong enough. Although a high level of fitness is required, it isn’t unachievable. You’re probably more capable than you think.
‘As long as you have the right qualities such as wanting to help others and a willingness to learn, the training will provide you with the practical skills needed.
‘I love my job. Everyone I have worked with has been helpful and supportive, and I have never felt that being female has held me back.’
Andrea Thake, North Earlham
Andrea traded in life on a super yacht for life on a watch and joined our service in February 2021. Having grown up in Norfolk, she was keen to return and while undertaking some breathing apparatus training as part of her role at sea, she started to think about a career as a firefighter.
When she decided to finish her yachting career, she applied to join Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service.
‘It’s really important that I do a job that really means something to me, that is rewarding and where I can work in a team. I love that every day is so different.’
Nick Howell, Great Yarmouth
Nick has had several roles within the fire service. ‘I’ve come from a sporting background and the health and fitness side of the job definitely appealed to me. Being in those team sports environments also meant that Watch life appealed to me. We work really closely as a team both in our Watch but also across the service. The work we do makes a real difference in the community.’