Paul gives us the lowdown on on-call

Long time no speak!

Paul by NightSince the last time I wrote on my Blog, there has been an awful lot happen, firstly I worked through my Gateways 1 & 2 assessments which are the brigades version of an NVQ or in NFRS terms, “becoming a competent firefighter” This involves reading through lectures and slides to learn all the operational orders and procedures and understand them, to ensure that when push comes to shove we have that specific piece of information in the back of our mind ready to put into action. We also have to attend a one day assessment for each of the two Gateways, which involves a practical assessment on Ladders, safe working at height and RTC. There is also a written assessment on all of the above, and although now being competent, I hasten to add its like when you first pass your driving test – now you really begin to learn what its all about!

So I have now lost the probationer diamonds off my helmet, but there is still so very much to learn from the lads on my station, the officers and other station crews. Like all emergency services we are constantly being monitored and assessed to ensure we are progressing, learning and honing our skills and knowledge. This ensures that should a situation arise that requires a certain procedure like evaluating the inside of a burning building for signs of structural failure.

I have also started driving and I am booked to do my LGV drivers course and test very soon, once that’s passed I am then required to drive for around 40 hours before I can go on the EFAD Course which is the Blue light course and advance driving, this I am informed is an amazing course and one I am very much looking forward too.They love him really

Since August I’ve been doing the most amazing, thing! I’ve been temporary on Red Watch, Great Yarmouth as a wholetime firefighter, what an opportunity! I applied with the attitude of nothing ventured, nothing gained and was so chuffed when I got accepted. The Watch have made me so welcome and I’m learning so much from them and have new ideas that I will be able to take back to my retained crew. The temporary position is until the end of July 2019 so I’m making the most of every minute and enjoying something that I never thought would be possible for me, even if it is only temporary!

Since last speaking to you all, we as a Brigade, as I’m sure you are all aware have had a very busy summer, with an unprecedented amount of field fires and forest type fires due to the very hot and dry summer we have had. The retained and whole time stations were all running flat out day and night to ensure that these fires were extinguished as quickly as possible to save the Farmers crops and wildlife wherever we could. The Brigade has not had a spell like this for some considerable time and it just brought to a head just how important the job is.

I have also since last writing been approached by the Home Office to be part of a national awareness media campaign to highlight and raise awareness for the Emergency services and their recruitment drives, this as you may or may not be aware particularly important as we are in Urgent need of more Retained Fire Fighters. I am not sure if you guys are aware but we do get paid for what we do in the Retained Service, we are employed by NFRS/Norfolk County Council and have to abide by all the same rules as the Wholetime Staff, we are trained the same and have the same skill sets, the differences are we don’t have to stay on station and obviously this allows us to carry out normal everyday jobs and careers, so we kind of get the best of both worlds!!

Paul enjoying a NYE party at his house (off duty!!!) with some of the Stratton crewSo what I would say is, if you are interested in becoming a Retained Fire Fighter, and you need to know what to do next please request a call back from one of our experienced crew members and they will be able to give you all the advice and information required to get yourself started on the process.

I shall write again once I have passed my Driving and keep you up to speed with my progress in the Service, Thanks for reading and I hope that this gives some help to those of you who are interested in the Brigade and those who would like to go one step further and become a part of a very special emergency service.

If you are interested in becoming an on call (retained firefighter you can click here to find out more and request a call back, someone will ring you back and have a chat about it, how it could work for you…just one phone call could change your life!