A village fire station is desperately in need of new recruits to fill its ranks as it reveals it is struggling to reach up to a quarter of call outs due to manpower shortages.
At a recent parish council meeting in Billinghay, Simon York, Divisional Commander for the area, explained five years ago the village’s fire station, manned by an on-call, part-time crew was able to respond to 80 per cent of all calls but in 2014 this had reduced by atleast five per cent.
This means that one in four incidents in the Billinghay area may need to be dealt with by a crew from further away, resulting in a delay, he said.
Paul Deighton, Watch Commander Support at Billinghay Fire Station, told The Standard: “Billinghay Fire Station is in real need of new firefighters. As is to be expected over time, a couple of people have left the station and this has put an additional strain on the service.
“Due to being a small community, the number of people who are available to respond to the station within five minutes isn’t vast. Also, there aren’t many businesses in Billinghay so many people work outside the village. This means there is a particular shortage of personnel between the hours of 9am and 5pm during the week so we really need people who are available to step forward and join us.
“Despite the misconceptions, a retained firefighter is a paid position within Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue who does much of the same work as their wholetime colleagues.
“Also, firefighting is not just for men and we encourage women to join. There are many female firefighters in Lincolnshire and while everyone has to pass a physical test, this is more about fitness and endurance rather than who can lift the most. You won’t know until you give it a go.”
There would be a training programme for recruits.
You need to be 18 or over. Certain fitness and education levels are required, but these are not onerous.
Other priority stations for recruitment in this area are Billingborough and Brant Broughton which are in a similar situation with few local employers meaning the eligible recruits would be working away from the villages during the daytime.
Sleaford’s service is now split, with half being a full-time crew based on East Road and the other half as on-call from Church Lane.
For more information on Fire and Rescue recruitment visit http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lincolnshire-fire-and-rescue/jobs.
Call 0800 3580204 or go to www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lfr