Service looking to stay-at-home parents to help swell ranks of on-call firefighters

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service - Credit: Archant

Stay-at-home parents could boost the numbers in Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s on-call ranks.

Fire service chiefs are hoping to enlist the help of mums and dads who stay at home after dropping their children off at school in a bid to increase numbers.

New figures reveal that since 2014 the organisation has lost 62 on-call firefighters, going from 293 to 231 this year and, with some stations struggling to recruit, the service is looking at new ways to encourage people to sign up.

“We are having to look at different ways in which we can get people to commit during the day and that is a real challenge, said Sean Hedger, the fire service’s team leader for on-call support.

“We are looking at mums potentially that drop the children off at 9am and pick them up at 3pm, and potentially can they provide us some cover during the day.”

Mr Hedger said that the 15 stations around the county that rely on on-call support often have a problem with recruiting enough manpower during the day.

He added: “In villages and smaller towns people, especially villages, they just empty during the day so our availability only ever really struggles during the day time and working hours from 8am-6pm.

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“People have jobs to go to and we are relying on their employers to support us and the way we are at the moment people can’t afford to lose their staff for three or four hours at a time, they are much less likely to release them nowadays.”

Despite the problem with recruiting, Mr Hedger confirmed that the service had no plans to close any on call stations as it is able to draw in staff from other areas such as full time firefighters who also choose to be a part of the on-call service.

“We have no intention of closing any of our stations and that process isn’t as simple as saying we are going to stop that one,” Mr Hedger added.

“It is about putting those extra resources into the station to support them and bring those numbers back up, it is not something that happens over night but we don’t want any of our stations to fail and we support them as much as we possibly can by the use of stand ins and targeted recruitment.”