Your chance to be a part-time firefighter

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As far as jobs go, they don’t come much more important than serving your community and saving lives.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is searching for people to do just that as part of its on-call recruitment campaign, and Mytholmroyd is one of the stations in need of your help.

For the first time, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is considering more flexible on-call contracts in the hope of giving people with family and other work commitments an opportunity to apply.

The Courier went along to Mytholmroyd station for an insight into the life of retained firefighters.

Based in the heart of the town, the station employs 13 on-call firefighters.

From fires and road collisions to floods and false alarms, they are trained to carry out all the duties of a firefighter to support their whole-time colleagues at incidents across the district.

One of the on-call firefighters at the station includes Crew Commander Thomas Marr, who works as a manager for Pennine Housing.

He said: “You have to be reliant and resilient because you can see fatalities.

“You never know what incident you will turn out to and you learn so many new skills. It’s a part of the community.

“It’s not about showing up and being a hero - you’re serving the community and you can see the good you are doing.

“It’s about teamwork.”

He added that gender and background are not a barrier to doing the job.

“We’re dealing with every section of society and if you get people who reflect that, then the community feels connected to us,” he said.

“The job is not restricted to gender, it’s restricted to the qualities of the person.”

Wendy Walker has been a retained firefighter for a year and juggles it with her job as a community mental health nurse, as well as being a mum to her three-year-old daughter.

She was inspired to apply for the position during last year’s recruitment campaign.

“I drove past the station every day and saw the banner. I kept thinking wow, I bet that’s an interesting job and I thought I had nothing to lose by applying,” Wendy said.

“It’s a great way to develop yourself - it is a big commitment and it surprised me how much of a commitment it is having to organise every part of your day.

“I think it is a unique experience. The highlight is getting into the fire engine, going to a job and feeling like you have done something worthwhile and done it well.”

“It is accessible to everyone, it just depends on your attitude as the training and ongoing development takes a lot of dedication.”

Local retained support officer, Crew Commander David Manning added: “We need a wide range of people from all different backgrounds for the skills they can bring to us.

“But we give something back as well, as we train them with vital skills. It’s a two-way thing.

“It is a total commitment for the person joining, as well as their family. They have got to be prepared, but it is very rewarding.”

Retained firefighters are a vital part of today’s Fire and Rescue Service and nationwide, approximately 18,000 retained firefighters provide cover to around 60 per cent of the UK,

Applications are welcome from all sections of the community - you just have to be over the age of 18, live or work within one mile or five minutes of the station and have obtained Maths and English GCSEs at grade C or above.

Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to attend one of the ‘try before you apply’ awareness sessions, which will beheld throughout November. For more for information and for details on how to apply, visit www.westyorkshirefire.gov.uk