Town in great need of new firefighters

A CALL has been made for people to sign up as on-call firefighters to address an ongoing shortage in the county.

The on-call fire crew at Framlingham celebrated the launch of their new joint premises with Suffolk police this week – and now they are searching for people to bring their team up to strength.

There are currently just eight on-call, or retained, firefighters at Framlingham, which means the station is “off the run” for significant periods of time.

The crew, based in Saxmundham Road, attended 73 incidents last year – but missed 25 local calls because not enough firefighters were available. The service is now hoping to take on three more officers.

The shortage mirrors the situation at many rural stations in Suffolk, mainly caused by changes in people’s working lives.

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As well as attending emergency incidents in the town and surrounding villages, the crew take part in community safety events, educating school children and supporting vulnerable people in their homes.

Tim Berry, officer in charge at Framlingham, said: “I enjoy the variation and working with people from different walks of life at Framlingham and from other fire stations.

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“I would recommend joining the fire service as it’s a career to be proud of – you get a real sense of achievement, there are training courses to attend and achievements to aim for, and you get to do things that other people don’t, like hot fire training.”

Mr Berry, whose main job is as a utility arboriculture field manager for BTS, added: “If you’re thinking of joining, come and see what it’s really like. It’s not a macho job. There’s more to it than people think.”

The crew carry out their regular training on a Monday night between 7pm and 9pm, when Mr Berry would be pleased to speak to anyone who is interested in joining his team.

Alternatively, contact the on-call firefighter liaison officer, Russell Punchard through the Suffolk County Council website, or on 01473 260588 and he will be able to send out an information pack.

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