Community commitment to the fire service in Warsop hailed as outstanding - as brigade admits to struggles elsewhere

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service says it is struggling to recruit enough on-call firefighters in parts of the county – but hailed the Warsop community for its commitment to the service.

By Anna Whittaker
Monday, 17th January 2022, 7:03 am

In the year to December 2021, the average availability of on-call firefighters in Nottinghamshire was 84.43 per cent which just misses the service target of 85 per cent.

However, in Southwell it was ‘particularly challenging’, where the availability is just 66 per cent.

An on-call firefighter is a paid person employed by a fire service who is ‘on-call’ to respond to a range of emergencies and other jobs.

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Warsop fire station, Church Street, Warsop.

Rather than being based at a station full-time, they have other jobs and commitments and respond to emergencies only when alerted.

A fire service report showed 10 of the 16 local stations are performing above the 85 per cent target – Warsop Fire Station, on Church Street, had the highest level of availability at 97 per cent.

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The issue was discussed at the latest Nottinghamshire Fire Authority meeting.

Area Manager Mick Sharman said: “Sections such as Southwell is where we experience these challenges, but we continue to work hard to recruit.

“It is traditionally because of the level of affluence within Southwell and attracting individuals to do almost part-time additional work is an ongoing challenge.

“We do support Southwell by putting additional resources in there, but the long-term recruitment is an ongoing challenge.

“There are some exceptional performing on-call stations in this period – Warsop was the top which in terms of commitment from the community is absolutely outstanding.

“We never take for granted on-call availability and it is an ongoing challenge we are clearly focused on.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said that at night, 18 out of 30 fire engines are on call and in the day, 16 are on call.

But on a normal day, the operational demand is for ‘six appliances at peak’.

He said: “Community-wise, the only thing we can carry on doing is raising the profile and communicate with the community in terms of tapping into their spirit to want to do it in terms of volunteerism.

“It has been something during the last 15 years which has been challenging. The concern is if that carries on and the problem grows.”

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