HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?
BECOMING AN ON-CALL FIREFIGHTER
What is an On-Call FireFighter?
On-Call Firefighters provide emergency cover to over 90 per cent of the UK.
There are over 14,000 On-Call Firefighters in England and they are responsible for operating 60 per cent of all fire engines and just like full-time Firefighters, are trained to deal with everything from extinguishing burning buildings to providing first aid.
Most On-Call Firefighters are based in rural areas and will crew a designated appliance at an On-Call fire station. However, some are based in urban areas on stations alongside Wholetime crews (full-time firefighters). Some On-Call Firefighters also crew special appliances such as hydraulic platforms and water carriers. On-Call fire crews will be called upon to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more, and work alongside their Wholetime colleagues at many incidents.
There are various ways in which availability can be provided, this will primarily be to your local fire station for an immediate response but could include providing agreed cover at an alternative location on a delayed response. Cover given can be flexible and could be given during the day while at work or through the night and during the weekends while at home. There will be a requirement for you to provide a guaranteed level of availability which will be discussed during your application process. When providing availability for emergencies, an On-Call Firefighter will be required to have the ability to be alerted (normally via a smart phone app) and remain within an agreed area for a rapid or delayed response. An On-Call firefighter will also need their primary employers consent to be released for emergencies.
Our response model
The Response Model provides the Organisation with the capacity to respond to Emergency incidents of varying types and durations.
This is achieved by having 15 fire appliance available to respond to emergency incidents from a fire station within 10 minutes. To provide further resilience to support the Response Model there are further fire appliances available which could be utilised anywhere from 20 minutes, 60 minutes or up to three hours. This resilient approach ensures we maintain the 15 front line appliances available where possible while ensuring we have reserve resources for dealing with periods of high demand.
As an On-Call Firefighter with Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, you will be providing a range of cover to suit you and the requirements of the Organisation. With this and a number of other opportunities to had, the role of an On-Call Firefighter with BFRS has never been so rewarding.
Green: response model for business as usual demand
Amber: response model for resilience
Let’s talk about commitment…
You will need to be committed to train and gain the skills needed for the role.
For much of the time, an On-Call fire station is not crewed. Each On-Call Firefighter is alerted (normally via an app on their smart phone) which is activated when they are needed and they have a maximum amount of time to report to the required 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 team. Depending on the type of cover given, an On-Call Firefighter may respond from home and/or a place of work, day and/or night. Our On-Call Firefighters can respond to their nearest fire station or to an alternative location for a delayed response to larger or prolonged incidents.
On-Call Firefighters are required to attend regular training activities. In addition to some weekend and other time periods to fulfill training for their role. There will also be opportunities to carry out additional duties such as, shifts with Wholetime colleagues, community fire safety, equipment maintenance and testing and general station routines. These duties are in addition to responding to emergencies for which you will receive a disturbance fee and additional hourly rate payments. During periods of On-Call cover you receive a retaining fee.
Calls for our assistance include:
- Animal rescues
- Road traffic collisions
- Property fires
- Industrial fires
- Fires in the open
- Water rescues
- Humanitarian assistance
- Medical assistance
- and many many more…
60% of all UK fire engines are crewed by On-Call firefighters
There are over 14,000 On-Call firefighters in the UK
Providing emergency cover to over 90% of the UK
Firefighting is not like any other job
It can be unpredictable, exciting and rewarding coupled with the satisfaction and respect that comes with providing a crucial service to the local community.
You will learn new skills along the way such as first aid, road traffic collision procedures and fire safety, and there is an opportunity for you to learn other skills, such as Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver. As an On-Call Firefighter you will receive remuneration for your availability, plus hourly rates (paid when you attend incidents or training activities) and disturbance fees (paid when attending incidents).
Underpinning everything we do is a set of values to which we aspire in all our dealings whether they are with the public, partner agencies or our own staff.
These values embrace:
Our vision is to make Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest areas in England in which to live, work and travel.
Service to the community
- Working with all groups to reduce risk
- Treating everyone fairly and with respect
- Striving for excellence in all we do
- Being answerable to those we serve
- Fairness and respect
- Recognising commitment and the achievement of excellent service
- Honesty and trust
- Opportunities to develop and learn
- Co-operation and inclusive working
- Accepting responsibility for our performance and actions
- Being open-minded and receptive to alternative approaches
- Learning from our experiences
- Supporting others to enable them to achieve their goals
- Encourage innovation and creativity
- Treating everyone fairly and with respect
- Challenging prejudice and discrimination
- Creating opportunities to meet the different needs of people and the communities
- Promoting equal opportunities in terms of recruitment, promotion and retention
Our fire stations
There are 20 strategically placed stations across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. These include 10 stand-alone On-Call stations, eight combined Wholetime/On-Call stations and two Wholetime stations.
* Wholetime only stations
9. Gerrards Cross*
10. Great Holm
11. Great Missenden
13. High Wycombe
17. Princes Risborough
On-Call payment system
On-Call Firefighters receive a variety of payments for providing cover, training and responding to emergencies. As well as the current fees outlined below, we are also looking at alternative remuneration packages for a more flexible working arrangement.
|Role||Hourly Rate||Disturbance Fee|
|Trainee||£10.46||£4.02 per call|
|Development||£10.90||£4.02 per call|
|Competent||£13.94||£4.02 per call|
|Development||£14.82||£4.02 per call|
|Competent||£15.46||£4.02 per call|
A newly recruited firefighter will commence on the trainee rate of pay until they have completed all the acquisition training modules. They then progress to the development rate of pay until their portfolio is completed, usually after two years. At this point they will graduate to the competent rate of pay.
All members of the Fire and Rescue Service start their career gaining the essential front-line experience and training needed to become a competent firefighter. For those On-Call Firefighters seeking promotion, there are opportunities available to progress and develop.
The Authority’s benefits scheme enables you access to over 6000 discounts for employees and their family, on variety of goods including; holiday, fashion, gifts, cinema tickets, spa days, electronic good, motor and home maintenance. You can also benefit from:
7 steps explained:
- Awareness evening: You will visit a local station and more about the role and responsibilities will be explained.
- Application form: Apply on the jobs page: HERE
- Interview: If your application is successful you will be invited to interview.
- Written and role based tests: Written testing using SHL, and role based physical testing.
- Occupational health medical: This assessment determines if you are medically fit to perform the role.
- Formal offer of employment: If you pass all the above you may be offered employment.
- Induction day: You will come to a station to start your On-Call journey!
Learn more about role related testing!
Being a part of On-Call fire crew elevates serving the community to an entirely new level. It is a challenging role which will suit people who can work under pressure.
I first joined the Fire Service to give something back to the town which became home for me and my family. The role of an On-Call Firefighter became a very important part of my life. Therefore, when few years later I had an opportunity to take part in a full time crewing pilot, I accepted it straight away. Subsequently, I was offered a position as a Flexi Firefighter which is now my full time job alongside my On-Call duties. I work with Whole Time crews every day, responding to emergencies and taking an active part in prevention activities across the whole of Buckinghamshire.
There are many opportunities for personal and career development available to On-Call firefighters. I completed number of courses designed to improve existing and gain new skills, which I find useful in everyday day life as well as on the job.
I would recommend becoming an On-Call firefighter whether you want to respond during your hours of availability or progress to the full time operational position. The rewards of being a Firefighter are invaluable. The public rely on your help and it is a great privilege to be in the position of the help provider.
I joined Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service 11 years ago as an On Call Firefighter. From a young age, I always had aspirations to join the Fire Service and so, at 19 years old, I saw this as an excellent opportunity for me to begin and develop my career with the Fire Service. From 2007, whilst working as an On Call Firefighter, I also had a full time job working, originally, as an electrical engineer before working my way up to become District Technical Manager for a global gas and electric company.
Not only did becoming an On Call Firefighter allow me to serve in my local community, I also felt a sense of escapism from my day to day job and the role allowed me to do something I have a real passion for.
Seven years into my career as an On Call Firefighter, I applied for promotion and successfully became a Crew Commander. I believe my knowledge and experience gained whilst working in the utilities industry helped develop my managerial skills and experience further. This promotion has allowed me to take on increased responsibly in the Fire Service and I now regularly ride in charge of a fire appliance and run incidents.
In 2017 I applied to become a full time Flexi Firefighter; a relatively new position created within Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. This meant leaving my full time ‘day job’ within the utilities industry. Whilst this was a big decision for me having been working within the gas and electric industry for 10 years, it simply was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
For the last 12 months I have been working as a flexi Firefighter and haven’t looked back. This role has allowed me to meet lots of people and work at a variety of stations. I have also been lucky enough to have been trained as a SWRT (swift water rescue technician); a specialist skill which could save many lives.
My focus now is to continue to improve upon the skills I have learnt and developed over the last decade and work towards promotion in this flexi role.
10 minute response time
Use the map below to enter your post code and find the closest On-Call Fire Station to you. Is there a Fire Station in your community?
Once you have located your nearest station, click “Directions” this will open Google Maps in a new window. You will be required to leave the fire station in an appliance within 10 minutes of being alerted from either your home or place of work.
Time of alert via phone app: 0 minutes
Drive to station at normal road speed: 7 minutes
Put on PPE (personal protective equipment): 2 minutes
Fire engine leaves station: 9 minutes
Once you have established how long it will take you to respond to the station, please discuss this with your Station Commander for approval providing it sits within the required 10 minute response time.
Are you ready to join Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and make a difference in your community?