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Oncall firefighter for 20 DN that isn't sure what he's going to do

(16 Posts)
livingintheNL Mon 01-Feb-16 13:41:34

Ive seen posters in my local area for on call fire fighters.

Is anyone one or know someone that is?

Was thinking of suggesting it to my 20 yo DN as something to do.

Not sure exactly how it works. From what I gather they are paid 2000 a year to be on hold for 80 hours a week and then if they are called out they get 15 pounds. I presume that is per hour not per occasion?

Stillunexpected Mon 01-Feb-16 14:17:20

80 hours per week? But that means he has to be within a certain distance of the fire station? Unless he has a local job and is a homebody outside of his work, that sounds like it would make it almost impossible for him to spend much time out of his home town! I presume you are suggesting this as a back-up to whatever work he does at the moment because it isn't a career in itself, more of a community role in conjunction with whatever other job he has. Also, the amount of times he gets called out will vary but might be only a couple of times per week so he couldn't live on the amount of money he would make from the job.

kimlo Mon 01-Feb-16 14:22:16

80 hours a week for £2000 a year? Theres so much he wont be able to do in that time, he wont be able to go far, if he goes socialising he wont be able to drink in case hes called in.

I cant see whats in it for him unless he really wants to be a firefighter and this gives him a headstart on the application form.

Where is this even a thing?

livingintheNL Mon 01-Feb-16 14:29:50

Yes has to stay in the local town. Hes currently studying part time, living at home so thought it maybe good to get some real world experience and a bit of extra cash.

I do think your right, 80 hours is too much. Would mean hes effectively on call 5 days a week and cant leave the local town.

I think the fire service is pretty much a closed shop to new joiners these days, all stations have on call workers.

ABetaDad1 Mon 01-Feb-16 14:29:57

Well this is clearly being designed to undercut existing firefighters pay.

80 hours per week for lets say 50 weeks a year. That's 400 hours for which you get paid 50p per hour and you are not allowed to drink or go anywhere and always contactable.

When you do actually get to work in an extremely dangerous and stressful job and for that they pay you less than a tradesman with regular hours.

I'd rather train to be a plumber. At least you can go where you like and have a drink and nobody bothers you at home.

They are having a laugh.

ABetaDad1 Mon 01-Feb-16 14:30:46

4000 hours for 50p per hour!

QforCucumber Mon 01-Feb-16 14:35:55

I went to a very rural school and one of our teachers there was an on call firefighter, they did it to be like ambulance first responders - the nearest proper station was over 30 minute drive away, in my 5 years at the school I remember it being talked about 3 times that he had been called away from class to deal with barn fires or similar.

Not sure how it works in towns but know it made sense where we grew up as it would reduce the risk of loss of life which would be inevitable if having to wait for the fire brigade to arrive.

loveulotslikejellytots Mon 01-Feb-16 14:43:09

DH was one for ten years, he's now full time and is on call in his spare time. It does sound a lot but a lot of those hours are when you're asleep. We are lucky in that the fire station here is right in the middle of town, so we weren't limited in what we could do. We could still go shopping, to the beach, into town, even out for meals while he was on call. DH would just take his bike if it was too far to run.

If it's something he's considering then get him to pop down to the station and chat to them. It's not something to take on lightly though. I was with DH for 7 years if him being on call, it did start to get on my nerves. You are limited on where you can go, especially as all my family are 15 miles away so us going to any family events on my side were usually dependent on whether he was on call (one car, he needed it if on call).

I think DH used to take home about £300 per month, not a lot but considering he didn't have to do a lot, just be available it wasn't bad.

The important thing for him to bear in mind is that it's a job. DH mentors a group of new part time firefighters, a lot of them seem to think its a hobby like the scouts.

Evergreen15 Sun 07-Feb-16 11:45:46

Hi, I am with loveulots. Being a retained firefighter takes an incredible amount of commitment and sacrifice. It is a job, not a volunteering thing, and retained firefighters have the same skills and competency as full time ones. Why do most of them do it? Obviously not for the money. As it has been rightly pointed that you must be very local (2 to 4 minutes) distance from your fire station, most of them do it to gain skills and protect their community.
My DP is one and I agree that it is hard on the family. They do get call out a lot, but the rest of the time they need to be ready and local.
There are also fire drills to attend and a lot of study and assessments.
They play such a vital role for communities, that I cant even begin to explain.
But it is is hard, and requires determination. I would recommend that he visits his local fire station and chats to the guys and gals there. smile
Maybe this is the thing for him, or maybe it will be in the future. Maybe not, but it is great that you are looking into good things for him to do

Drquin Sun 07-Feb-16 12:12:09

It's very much "a thing" and it most certainly is not designed to "undercut" full-time firefighters.

It is an essential part of the fire service provision in more rural areas of the country. Where, thankfully, the levels of fire / car-crashes / cats up trees and every other manner of fire service call-outs are not so high as to justify a full-time fire service in the smaller towns and villages.

Retained firefighters will live and work in their community, being able to respond to call-outs 24/7 (although obviously there are times when you won't be available, and that's ok). It's effectively a voluntary commitment, yes there's payment but it's not the sort of thing you do for the money. You do it to make a positive contribution to the safety of your community (and potentially if you're thinking of joining the fire service full-time).

Drquin Sun 07-Feb-16 12:15:49

When I say "like a voluntary commitment" I'm meaning financially .... Not standards / professionally obviously.

The entire county I live in had only 3 full-time stations in one city, another in 1 town. The rest of the vast, rural area is served by a fantastic, dedicated and professional retained fire service.

OddBoots Sun 07-Feb-16 12:18:03

If he has any need to claim JSA it could cause him problems as they could argue that he is not available for work during those hours.

ovaryhill Sun 07-Feb-16 16:25:58

Hi you are not expected to be on call every minute of every day, if you've something on you normally just sign off as unavailable
You paid a retainer and a call out fee and if your out for any length of time then it's an hourly rate
Old style contracts stated you had to make a certain percentage of fires and I think new ones state a certain number of hours available, your certainly not held hostage to being on call, there's normally enough staff to factor in not everyone being available at all times

ovaryhill Sun 07-Feb-16 16:32:01

Pay is normally a retainer, one of fee for the call out, higher rate if you make it on the machine, obviously not everyone makes it on time, paid for the training night and then an hourly rate if you out for a time

Evergreen15 Sun 07-Feb-16 23:02:13

"If he has any need to claim JSA it could cause him problems as they could argue that he is not available for work during those hours."
I don't even know what to say to that comment.
If he is studying, he shouldn't be claiming JSA. Plus how great to know that some people think that it is better not to serve their community if instead they can get the tax payers to co tribute to their JSA. From the post, we imagine that the poster want this young man to have useful, fulfilling opportunities, not to see how much he can take from the allowances that should be there for people that need them, not for people that rather have free money than help their communities.

Evergreen15 Sun 07-Feb-16 23:04:07

Obviously if all retained firefighter thought that they could just claim JSA and do nothing, it would be impossible for anyone to sleep at night and feel safe.
Thanks God for those that work hard and make sacrifices.

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