Still deciding if being an On-Call firefighter is for you? Why not hear what life is like from some of our own.
38 years of on-call firefighting for the Pratt family
A family of four on-call firefighters have 38 years of fighting fires between them. Mark, Marcus, Daniel and Nick Pratt are all on-call firefighters based at Hucknall Fire Station. Mark Pratt father of Marcus and Daniel has been with the Service for 26 years with his primary role working for Rolls Royce where he recently retired a year ago and now focuses on keeping fire engines on the run as part of his role on-call. Marcus works as a Workplace Assessment Co-ordinator for NFRS, Daniel is a Dental Technician and responds from his workplace, whilst Nick works as an Engineer in Castle Donnington. With such variety of primary employment each family member is able to provide different times of cover for the Service keeping the fire engines on the run. The Pratt family talk about their experiences of being on-call firefighters:
John Buckley - Chief Fire Officer
I first joined the fire and rescue service across the border in Derbyshire, after seeing an advert in the local newspaper seeking retained firefighters. The advert attracted me at the time as it made the job sound important for the community, in terms of providing fire cover, and also offered training in a range of areas that would help me in my full time job – such as first aid, team working and leadership. Very soon after joining the retained crew in Heanor, I realised that being a firefighter was a really rewarding role that suited me really well, so when the opportunity arose for me to apply for a wholetime role I submitted an application straight away. My first two attempts actually failed, but fortunately on the third attempt I was successful. I went on to join Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in 1996, and the rest is history... For anybody thinking about joining our team as a firefighter, I would seriously encourage you to get in touch with your local crew. Not only is it personally a rewarding job, but it will also see you helping to keep people in your local area safe – as well as giving you a wide range of new skills. If you haven’t thought about joining us, I would strongly advise having a look at the information on the careers page on our website. You may already have the skills to be a fantastic firefighter, you just don’t know it yet!
I initially looked at becoming a firefighter because of the flexibility, but soon after speaking to my local Watch Manager I realised that the crew there was pretty much one big family. I wanted to be part of that family and be a part of what they stood for and represented. Since joining the Service it has pretty much become my life. I can’t imagine not being a firefighter anymore and I’m now looking at ways that I can progress my career. My favourite parts of the job are getting to wear breathing apparatus and the community engagement work. There is no better rush than being committed into a fire wearing breathing apparatus, with a partner by your side, and completing your task. Not only is it exhilarating, but it’s incredibly rewarding too – as you know you’ve played your part in preserving someone’s life, or someone’s home. Equally, I feel it’s really important to interact with people in the local community, whether it be giving them fire safety advice or just letting them know that we are always there for them. If you’re thinking of joining the Service I would say that the hard work you have to put in is definitely worth it. The job is forever changing so it’s important that you stay focussed on your goals and constantly be prepared to learn and better yourself. Do this and you’ll get there.
Prior to joining the Service I had always wanted to carry out an active and worthwhile job. I had started working at a company across the road from the retained fire station in East Leake and I could see the fire engine turning out to incidents from my window. I started to wonder whether this could be an exciting job to do and so I spoke to one of the local firefighters who told me to pop into the station the following week. I've never looked back!
The best part of the job is that you never know from one minute to the next what you are going to be attending. As soon as the alarm sounds you start to wonder what has happened and all you want to do is go and help people in their time of need. It's obviously not always a happy ending but we always help people the best we can. To anybody thinking of joining us, I would simply say do it as you will absolutely love it. You are forever learning new skills which not only benefit the Service, but also yourself in day to day life. Helping people within your local community in their time of need is extremely rewarding and, whilst it is a big commitment, it's worth it to get paid for doing a job you love!
I had wanted to join Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service for a long time so I could serve my community and work in a professional team, and now having joined the Crew at Southwell Fire Station I strongly believe that I could save somebody’s life in the future. For that reason I am proud to wear the uniform and be part of the Service. The best part of the job for me, at the moment, is getting to develop my skills at incidents and getting to work as part of a team – especially as the team work in the fire and rescue service is so good. I’m currently in the second phase of my training and am loving every single drill. If you’re thinking of joining the fire and rescue service, I would say that doing it would be one of the best decisions of your life. I’ve become a stronger and better person, I’ve made my parents proud and I’ve met a lot of magnificent people from trainees to Station Managers – all of which help motivate you to be the best you can be. You’re never alone at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, as there’s always someone by your side if you’re struggling. If you want to be part of an amazing team, join up!
It has been a lifelong dream of mine to become a firefighter. My dad was in the fire and rescue service for 30 years and I saw how much satisfaction it gave him. After moving to a village where there was a retained fire station I was able to apply and was thankfully successful. To be able to save and help people is a real morale booster. Being a firefighter gives you great life skills that you are able to use in other parts of your life. It’s also great being part of such a good team at Collingham as it enables us to work together as one when training and attending incidents. The job can push you to your limits, both physically and emotionally, but the rewards far outweigh it. I have a young family and also work in the construction industry, so balancing everything is of course a challenge but it helps that I have a really supportive employer and a really supportive family. Covering upto 84 hours a week might seem like a daunting prospect, but it can definitely work and with the help of your colleagues and managers it really is possible. If you are thinking of applying to join the Service, I would say definitely do it. From the moment you walk into training school on your first day you realise how much of a positive experience it will be for you. At the age I am personally I didn’t think I would be successful but age is just a number if you are physically and mentally ready for the challenge in front of you. It is without a doubt one of the demanding and emotional experiences I have had to go through but the end result is so worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have never felt as proud of myself as I did on my Passing Out Parade in front of my family.
I joined the fire and rescue service to give back to my community and to develop my skill range. The best part is working together with my team, whether it be at a training session or an incident, and it is great that we all support eachother. The training course is both physically and mentally demanding. It was more challenging than I ever expected, but it was a great achievement to pass. To anybody thinking of applying, I would say do it! It’s incredibly rewarding and, if you have the determination, you should definitely go for it.
My interest in joining Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service started when I visited Bingham Fire Station with my school many years ago. I've loved it since then, and always wanted to join.
Having started at Bingham last year, I can safely say I love all aspects of the job – so much so that I don't have a favourite. Going out and riding the appliance is great, as is getting out within the community. One of the best parts about working for the Service though has to be the way in which Wholetime and Retained crews work so well together – be it training or a real incident. There's a real team spirit across the different stations and working with others means you can benefit from their knowledge and experience.
To anybody thinking of joining, I would say the training is tough – but if you stick with it you will find yourself in a very good and rewarding job.