Firefighter Chris Kirby from Maldon Fire Station washing a car

Employer’s guide

Are you an employer who could release some of your employees to become on-call firefighters?

Many of our on-call firefighters work within 5 minutes of a local fire station and balance their role around their full time job locally or around being self-employed locally. They work in a variety of jobs from mechanics to window cleaners and work in local businesses like supermarkets and restaurants.

We’re grateful for the many employers in Essex who have an arrangement in place so their employees can be released from work to attend an incident when called out by the fire service.

The way each business works the arrangement is up to them – sometimes they will stop payment when their employee is called to an incident, other times the employee will make the time up at a later date, or there might be another agreement entirely.

Having on-call firefighters who can respond from work during the day helps us to keep as many fire crews available as possible in case of an emergency. You and your colleagues could be helping to keep your community safe. 

How would my business benefit?

Having an on-call firefighter in your business helps keep your local community safe and could help your business have a positive reputation locally. Our on-call firefighters can bring a variety of skills and experiences that could benefit your business. From advanced first aid training to a wider knowledge of fire risks that could help keep your colleagues and community safe. 

Are there any disadvantages to my business?

We think the positives largely outweigh the negatives both for your employee and your business. However, you’ll need to think about the arrangements in place to make sure your business has as little impact as possible when your employee is paged. They will need to leave immediately when they are called to an incident and if their work is flexible they could make up for the time they lost once they return from an incident. There is the option to book as unavailable for a call out if they are working on something urgent that can’t be interrupted.

Are there any costs?

There are no direct costs to supporting an employee to become an on-call firefighter. An indirect cost could be the time lost when your employee is not there – how you choose to work around this can be agreed at a local level. If anything, you could be saving money by having an in-house expert in all things fire safety who can help you keep your workplace as risk free as possible. They’ll also be first aid trained which can help put your mind at ease if there’s an accident in the workplace and they’ll have a variety of training that could help your business thrive.

How often would they be called out?

This is something we can't predict, while we work hard to prevent incidents happening, your employee could be called to an emergency at any time. Some fire stations are busier than others and on average, our on-call firefighters get called two to three times per week for an hour or so at a time. 

Remember, the call could be at any time of the day or night. Your employee might not be called during working hours but if they provide cover from home too and have been called in the night, you might want to think about an arrangement to help support them in their work time.

How do I find out more?

Thanks for considering the opportunity, we rely on the support of local businesses and are grateful to every employer who supports our on-call firefighters and our service. 

We’d love to have a chat with you about how your business could support your local fire station, please email and one of our On-Call Liaison Officers will be in touch. 

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