“I’m proud to be part of that local emergency response”
Joel Carter, Wareham’s On Call Firefighter tells us why he loves being part of the local fire-fighting family
People become on-call firefighters for many different reasons, and they are a vital part of their local community.
For Joel Carter, one of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s newest recruits, joining the crew at his local fire station in Wareham fulfilled a long-held dream.
The 34-year-old joiner grew up in Dorset but, after leaving home to go to university, he ended up in Liverpool where he married and started a family. Having decided to return to his roots, becoming an on-call firefighter was one of the deciding factors for the location of his move.
Joel said: “I’d always been attracted by the spontaneity of being an on-call firefighter; you don’t know when the pager will go off, and you don’t know what you’ll be doing when it does. It wasn’t an option where I lived before, so coming back to Dorset and settling in Wareham was the opportunity to apply. I started last December, and am now in my development phase.”
Being self-employed gives Joel the flexibility to offer day cover when he’s working locally, but everyone on station pulls together to keep the two fire engines and the off-road Unimog available as much as possible.
Wareham is one of three on-call fire stations in Purbeck – the others being Swanage and Bere Regis – and all three are looking for new people to join. As long as you’re at least 18, reasonably fit, and live or work near to one of the stations, it’s worth getting in touch.
Lots of information can be found at on the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Website including details of how to apply and what the process looks like. There’s even a training plan for those worried about their fitness!
Joel would encourage anyone who’s interested in becoming an on-call firefighter to give it a try. He said: “One thing that has surprised me is that the phrase ‘fire family’ is a real thing. The support I’ve been given, not just by the Wareham crew but by other people across the Service, some of whom I barely know, has been amazing. It is difficult, translating the basic skills training from when you join into competent experience, but there is such a willingness to help me achieve that.”
He added: “I think I expected it to be constant shouts but, of course, it’s much more erratic. That said, I did want spontaneity! The important thing is that I’m part of the Wareham community, helping that community. Like everyone else, I want to know the fire service will be there quickly if I need them, and I’m proud to be part of that local emergency response.”
Reasons who local people become an On-Call Firefighter…
“I work at a desk most of the time, so I wanted
to do something that kept me active.”
“My dad was a firefighter, so it’s something I always wanted to do.”
“I was looking for a second job, and this fitted in brilliantly with my other commitments – and it’s useful income.”
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could, and I’ve loved it.”