Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Tesco employees become on-call firefighters

Two local supermarket employees are swapping their Tesco uniforms for firefighter uniforms to help protect their local community.

Ian Noble and Darrel Drake both work at Tesco in the Grove Shopping Centre, Witham, and have successfully completed their training to become on-call firefighters at Witham Fire Station.

The colleagues are still employed by Tesco, and are released to become on-call firefighters when needed during their normal working hours.

Witham is an on-call fire station and sees its firefighters going about their everyday lives and jobs, until the pager sounds - then they meet at the station to become professional firefighters, on the front line, saving lives.

Darrel is a customer assistant and has worked with Tesco for 10 years.

Ian, who has worked for Tesco for 16 years, is a Trade Manager at the store. He said:

“My great-grandfather was a firefighter for his whole working life in Ireland. When I saw the opportunity to keep my day job and become an on-call firefighter at the same down I couldn’t turn it down. It makes every day exciting as you never know what will happen but you can be sure that you’ll be serving and protecting the local community in one way or another.”

Kelly Smith, People Manager at Tesco, Witham, said:

“When Essex County Fire and Rescue Service approached us with the idea of releasing colleagues we thought it would be a great way to support the local area as well as giving our colleagues development opportunities. My uncle was on-call firefighter with Essex for many years when I was a child and I know he loved his time with the Service.”

Sheree Rankin, Store Manager at Tesco Witham, said:

"We are delighted to be working with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service on the trial and we are proud that our colleagues Ian and Darrel have completed their training and can support the local community."

Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said:

Our on-call stations often need daytime cover, so engaging with local businesses to release their employees is a partnership which everyone benefits from. Ian and Darrel should be incredibly proud of what they are doing and we are thankful to Tesco for working with us to create these opportunities.”

ECFRS and Tesco are now in talks to roll out the pilot scheme to other locations across the county.

On-call firefighters must live or work within five minutes of the fire station so that, when paged, they are able to respond quickly.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has 36 on-call stations crewed by on-call firefighters across the county.

If you would like to find out more about releasing an employee to become an on-call firefighter please call 01376 576698, email or read our employers information guide by visiting:

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