With more people working from home than ever before, becoming an on-call firefighter with Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has never been more achievable.
On-call crews need to live or work within five minutes of a fire station, which makes it a real possibility for those now working remotely, just like Phil Gower.
Phil responds to emergencies from Cranbrook fire station during the day, in the evenings and at weekends as required, including when he’s working from home.
He said: “My employer is really supportive of my role as an on-call firefighter and understands that in an emergency, there’s somebody out there who urgently needs my help.
“Having flexibility is important, as I’m able to respond to incidents but I can still do my day job just as well as anybody else.
“As an on-call firefighter, I get to learn something new every day – skills I wouldn’t learn anywhere else. I can then use those interchangeable skills in my day job, whether that’s time management, performing under pressure or being a team player.”
Phil’s bosses welcome the benefits that come with having an on-call firefighter on the team.
Peter Holland, Chief Inspector for Crown Premises Fire Safety Inspectorate at the Home Office, said: “I’m delighted that I can release a member of my staff to help members of their local community in an emergency.
“All the qualities you want in an on-call firefighter, are the same qualities I want in an employee – people you can trust and rely on to do the job well.
“The time involved is relatively small, so if Phil gets called out to an incident, he can easily make the hours back up. It’s about having an open mind to it.”
On-call firefighters commit at least 50 hours a week and carry a pager when they are on duty, which sounds when they are needed at an emergency.
They attend weekly training and receive an annual wage to reflect the cover they provide.
Neil Parr, On-call Station Manager for KFRS, said: “The normal working day has changed forever since the pandemic, and remote working is now common practice for many, giving more people the flexibility to become an on-call firefighter.
“On-call firefighters are a vital part of the service we provide, and we need more people to join their local stations and help us to keep people across Kent and Medway safe.”