Meet Harry Clack from South Woodham Ferrers
At 18-years-old, Harry Clack from South Woodham Ferrers is one of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s (ECFRS) youngest on-call firefighters.
Harry, who is an apprentice in a support role with ECFRS, decided to train to become an on-call firefighter, initially in Maldon, but he soon moved to South Woodham Ferrers and now provides cover there.
"Being a young driver and motorcyclist, I form part of Essex’s high risk group for road traffic incidents. This made me want to be a firefighter, so that not only will I be giving back to the public services, but contributing to the safety of my friends, family and other people in Essex,” said Harry.
Harry provides on-call cover during the day and evenings as he lives and works within 5 minutes of South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station. When his pager sounds he immediately makes his way to the fire station. He never knows what he could be attending, it could be a road traffic collision, field fire or even a chemical spill. The role is more than fighting fires.
Harry is paid for the time he is available to work, regardless of whether he is called out. He is also paid an additional hourly rate for attending incidents and training. The amount on-call firefighters depends on their availability but they can earn anywhere between £4,000 and £8,000 a year, sometimes more.
Before beginning his training, Harry had to pass a fitness test. While off-putting to some, ECFRS has a fitness team who hold pre-assessment fitness days and offer advice on how to improve fitness.
After passing his initial fitness test with flying colours, Harry spent two full weeks training followed by a further evening session for 10 weeks.
"The training covers everything from ladders and hoses to road traffic collisions, everyone on your squad is new like you,” said Harry.
In addition to the evening training sessions, new recruits begin attending their local station's drill night, something they'll be expected to do throughout their career in order to keep their training and knowledge current.
"It’s a really great feeling to know I’ll be supporting the local community and helping to make Essex a safe place to live, work and travel."
“My advice for thinking about becoming an on-call firefighter is to do your research on the job and commitment. But don’t overstress on things, the Service has fantastic training team who will work with you throughout every part of the process.”
Could you be an on-call firefighter? If you're aged 18 or over, live or work within 5 minutes South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station and are physically fit you could be paid to protect your local community.
South Woodham Ferres Fire station is holding a recruitment week - find out more about the role from firefighters who will be on hand to answer any questions you have:
- Saturday 12 October – Find us at South Woodham Ferrers parkrun
- Monday 14 October – Drop in at South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station between 10am and 4pm to chat to Kim Polley, On-Call Liaison Officer
- Tuesday 15 October - Drop in at South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station between 10am and 4pm to meet our fitness team and between 1pm and 7:30pm to chat to Kim Polley, On-Call Liaison Officer. From 7:30pm, you can watch our training night at the fire station
- Wednesday 16 October - Drop in at South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station between 10am and 4pm to chat to Kim Polley, On-Call Liaison Officer
- Thursday 17 October - Drop in at South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station between 1pm and 7pm to chat to Kim Polley, On-Call Liaison Officer
- Friday 18 October - Drop in at South Woodham Ferrers Fire Station between 10am and 4pm to chat to Kim Polley, On-Call Liaison Officer
For more information about the on-call firefighter role and how to apply visit www.essex-fire.gov.uk/swf