A VETERAN firefighter of more than 15 years is appealing for members of the public to step up and become on-call firefighters.

Station Manager Karen Nicoll has responsibility over the fire stations in Burnham, Tollesbury, Tillingham and Maldon.

One of her main priorities is recruiting on-call firefighters, a role she sees as vital to communities.

A high priority is placed on Burnham and Tillingham as the support of the community to staff the stations are vital to the whole county.

Karen said: "Because of the risks and road access, Burnham and Tillingham are what we call 'joint key stations'.

“They can never be ‘off the run’ at the same time, and if this happens then another crew is called in from another fire station.

“This can sometimes produce a domino effect - moving one crew could see cover adjusted around the county, so if Burnham was fully crewed, in turn it would help out the other parts of the county.”

Karen’s 18-year career in the fire service has seen her move from wholetime firefighter to Crew Manager, Training Instructor, Community Builder and Station Manager, overseeing four on-call stations in east Essex.

She believes that the commitment from individuals and business in the area will help develop a healthy career in the fire service.

Karen added: “We’ve seen on-call firefighters stay with us for over 30 years and we simply couldn’t be without them."

"By agreeing to release an employee to become an on-call firefighter during working hours, an employer will have the benefit of having a qualified firefighter working for them that has that knowledge and experience of fire safety and fire protection.

“Each employer can come to a localised agreement of how time spent away from the business is

calculated, but we continually hear from businesses that the positives far outweigh any negatives.

"From day one of registering your interest, we’ll support you in understanding the full commitment and requirement of the role as well as how to prepare for any tests.

"Supporting on-call firefighters, whether it’s by becoming one yourself or releasing your employees to provide cover, is the ultimate show of community spirit.

“Without your support we simply could not deliver our mission of keeping Essex a safe place to live, work and travel."

All four of Karen's stations; Burnham, Tollesbury, Tillingham and Maldon, are currently recruiting for on-call firefighters.

For details, visit join.essex-fire.gov.uk, email oncall.recruitment@essex-fire.gov.uk or call 01376 576698.