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Could you be a Norfolk firefighter?

06 July 2020

Residents across Norfolk looking for a rewarding new career are being invited to apply to become whole time firefighters.

Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) has launched a recruitment drive to fill posts across the county and is keen to hear from anyone who thinks they may have what it takes to become the latest
member of the team.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “As a firefighter you will protect people, the environment and property from a huge range of emergencies. As well as putting out fires, you could be rescuing people, providing emergency care and responding to storm and flood threat.

“One of your most important roles will be working closely with the local community to increase fire safety awareness which helps to prevent fire and accidents happening in the first place. In the last ten years the number of fires attended by our fire and rescue service has reduced by 10% - which really highlights the importance of our education work with the public.”

“We welcome applications from across our community, including women and people from BAME backgrounds who are currently under-represented in the service.”

Stuart Ruff, NFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “While fighting fires and carrying out rescues will always continue to be a core part of the role of the modern firefighter, other aspects of our work have changed a lot over the years.

“Engaging with our local communities through fire safety initiatives and working in partnership other agencies, is now a huge part of a firefighter’s role. NFRS is the lead partner on Norfolk’s Drowning Prevention Forum and, sadly, road traffic collisions remain a significant part of our role. We are part of a Norfolk-wide road safety group which aims to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.

“The diverse nature of our role, our crucial work with the community and with our partner agencies, means we want the best people to provide the best service we can. As well as the physical requirements of the job, you’ll also need to be a team player with qualities like problem solving and leadership skills and the ability to communicate well with a wide range of people.

“If you’re interested in serving the communities of Norfolk and being part of a great team committed to making Norfolk a safer place, we want to hear from you.”

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Vicky’s story

Vicky Spall was 19 when she joined NFRS. She’d always been interested in a career in the emergency services but was particularly drawn to the fire service. ‘The chance to work closely in a big team was a big draw – I feel it brings out the best in me. I’ve always been a very active person, so a physical job really appealed. I knew it would keep me busy and I’d never be bored!’

Vicky found all the information she needed to prepare for the assessment phase of the recruitment process on the NFRS website. ‘’I knew that I needed to hit my fitness training quite hard in order to meet the standard and used the 12-week Firefit programme to make sure I was on track and at the level I needed to be. I also used the practice written tests which were very useful.’

All new recruits go on a 12-week training course. “I loved the course although it was hard – particularly the first few weeks getting used to the everyday kit and equipment and we had a lot of information to take in. But it was very rewarding - the instructors were great and the support from the other people on the course made it enjoyable.”

Now assigned to a watch at Carrow Fire Station, Vicky thinks watch life is brilliant. ‘It’s like having a second family, we spend so much time together! There is such a strong sense of being a close team and everyone’s there to help you improve and achieve.’

Vicky’s message to women considering a career in the fire service is: “Definitely go for it. It wasn’t easy to get where I am now but there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help. Focus on your fitness and have confidence in yourself. Don’t let your gender get in the way. NFRS has never viewed me as any different – I am just one of the team.’

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