More on-call firefighters needed in Norfolk as lockdown starts to lift

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Raveena Ghattaura

A campaign has been launched to recruit more on-call firefighters in Norfolk, as more people are set to return to work over the next few months.

In Norfolk alone, there are 36 vacancies across the county's 39 on-call fire stations. 

Now a national recruitment drive has been launched for people from all backgrounds, to help keep our communities safe.

Michelle Lowe combines answering 999 calls with running a yard for horses in Stalham, Norfolk.

She is the third generation to work at Stalham fire station, following in the footsteps of her grandfather and father.

Michelle's grandad is the first on the left and her dad, second on the right. Credit: Michelle Lowe

Michelle works on-call as a Watch Manager alongside her father Geoffrey, who joined the service 46 years ago.

She's worked at the station since 2007 and has found a way to make both jobs work, sometimes, at the same time.

"There have been occasions when I have actually been called out whilst I was out on the horse", Michelle added.

"So I have actually attended the station on my horse.

"Mum meets me here, so it is not left here, but yes, I have been called out whilst on the horse."

Michelle works alongside her dad Geoffrey. Credit: ITV Anglia

From butchers, to electricians, and even undertakers, people from all professions work for the service.

But over the last few years numbers in Norfolk have dropped.

Fire Chiefs say now could be the right time to consider a career in the service, with more people working from home,

On-call firefighters must live or work within five minutes of an on-call station, and respond to 999 calls via a pager.

"It's becoming very, very difficult to keep all the appliances in Norfolk available, all the time", Paul Edwards from Norfolk Fire and Rescue service, said.

"I think as we move out of lockdown, and we look at people going back to work, Norfolk as we know if quite a large tourist attraction, and so what we will see there is that a number of our staff that work in the hospitality industry, will look at going back to work in the coming months and that will have a knock on affect on our availability.

"So we are looking for everyone. We need more people from all backgrounds, from every walk all of life."

Training is provided for all new recruits and people are able to do the job around their primary career.