Alex Orton works as an on-call firefighter for Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service (WFRS).
He was praised by WFRS leadership last summer for going ‘above and beyond’ in his response to the Atherstone forest fire, a large-scale incident in an area of dense forest land.
Speaking of the incident, he said:
“I worked with crews from across the county, helping with water supplies, monitoring, and firefighting. I also assisted the farmers with their joint efforts containing and extinguishing the fire, which had spread to a large area of dense forest land.
“This was the type of large-scale ongoing incident that required almost everyone from WFRS and surrounding areas to have some sort of involvement, and it was a great effort from everyone who attended. It was a long day, but we knew we had to pull together and do the best we could.”
Alex is self-employed alongside working as an on-call firefighter, and finds the two positions work well together:
“I find being self-employed does make it a little easier as being an on-call firefighter is a big commitment, and being your own boss makes it easier to take time out of your normal day job to reach the required standards – a big win! But I believe someone who works in any line of work and is willing to put the extra effort in can make it work as an on-call firefighter.
“I enjoy all aspects of being an on-call firefighter. Of course, there is the obvious pros of being part of an operational fire crew, going out on the fire engine and responding to emergencies. In addition, the opportunities for community engagement - school visits, open days fetes and the like - are not only great fun but have also really helped me develop.
“You get to meet a lot of different people from a range of backgrounds and situations both operationally and through visiting areas of the local community.
“Advice that I would give to anyone thinking of signing up is to find out as much as you can about your local fire service. Learn the WCC Behaviours and look into the NFC Core Code of Ethics. If you feel that these describe you as a person, and you're able to follow them, go down to your local on-call fire station and ask as many questions about the role as you want. We will always give you the most honest and accurate answers possible, and if we can’t, we will find out for you.
“After that, if you still feel you have what it takes, take the plunge! Look for the application process online and make it happen. It’s the best decision I ever made and would fully recommend it to anyone who lives near an on-call fire station.”
We need on-call firefighters across Warwickshire now. If you live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call station, or work remotely and could use one of our stations as a base, find out more and apply today.