Firefighting Markyate woman’s rallying cry for more on-call volunteers

On-call Markyate firefighter, Gemma Fraser. Photo: HERTS COUNTY COUNCIL FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES

On-call Markyate firefighter, Gemma Fraser. Photo: HERTS COUNTY COUNCIL FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES - Credit: Archant

A firefighting Markyate woman has called on people to contribute to their community by becoming an on-call firefighter.

Herts county council (HCC) is looking to strengthen its fire crews with more people like warehouse manager Gemma Fraser, 31.

Gemma said: “I didn’t realise there was such a thing as an on-call firefighter until I met someone that works at the station.

“They explained the job they did and what it involved. I thought it sounded really interesting and it was something I could do.

She was also inspired by her grandfather, who was a firefighter.

Gemma says she feels she is making a valuable contribution to her community.

“It’s important retained stations have a full crew ready to respond as emergency calls can come in day or night.

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“Retained stations cover the more rural parts of the county and the crews can often arrive at incidents before whole-time crews, which are located in bigger towns and cities.

“This early arrival could be the difference between life and death for someone, so those communities need local people to join so they can make a difference.”

In order to encourage interest, HCC produced a video parodying the football transfer deadline day.

The video stars Gemma as Herts Fire and Rescue Service’s latest signing.

Chief fire officer Darryl Keen said: “On-call firefighters are a vital part of our team, working and training alongside the full time crews to deal with emergencies.

“On-call firefighters come from all walks of life – plumbers, IT consultants, florists and financial advisers – all ready to drop everything and pull on their firefighting kit when their community needs them.

“We hope this video, and the campaign that goes with it, will raise the profile of this vital role and get more people to realise that this is something they could do and to think about the rewards of being a firefighter alongside their normal jobs.”

On-call firefighters must live or work within four minutes of the station, and be on standby for call-outs.

In return they get training, and a retainer.

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