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What is an on-call firefighter?

On-call firefighters have everyday lives and jobs, until their pager sounds; then they immediately make their way to the fire station. They don’t work for a back-up team or a second rate crew. On-call firefighters are professional firefighters, on the front line, saving lives.

Do I have to fit a certain profile?

Our role and workforce has developed and so has our place in the community. Our on-call firefighters come from all walks of life – from stay at home parents and self-employed business owners to shop workers and tradespeople. Male and female. Tall and short. Fitness enthusiasts and cake lovers alike. And most don’t have any previous experience until they apply.

There are just three requirements – you must:

  • live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station
  • be over 18
  • be physically fit (we will support you and give training in this area)

What will I do?

Our on-call firefighters are called out to anything from floods and fires to road traffic collisions or chemical spills; we make sure they are trained to deal with everything from extinguishing burning buildings to providing first aid.

What support will you give me?

From day one we’re here to support you through the process. Our On-Call Recruitment Team will guide you through the entire process, our Fitness Team will support your fitness journey and our Training Instructors will ensure you’re supported during the assessment.

On-call firefighter training and development

Once you’ve passed your assessment process and been offered employment with us you’ll be ready to start training to become an on-call firefighter. This will begin with a two-week training course, which runs Monday – Friday.

After this you’ll attend evening training sessions which usually last for two hours one evening a week for 10 weeks.

After your initial training you’ll of course continue training throughout your career – making sure you’re always up to date and confident in your role.


See what some of our current on-call Fire Fighters are saying about their roles.

Bradley Valentine

Bradley Valentine works full time for a removals company...

Bradley Valentine works full time for a removals company and has been an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station for a year and a half.

He always wanted to be a firefighter after firefighters saved his life following a serious road traffic collision when he was 10-years-old. 

Bradley was worried that he couldn’t join because he is dyslexic.

“It’s been the complete opposite,” says Bradley. “Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been amazing. They have helped me so much and were able to give me support for the written and practice assessments. 

“I would recommend the role to anyone, even if you have got disabilities. It shouldn’t affect you at all. It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that you’ve saved a life and are helping people. 

“If you’ve got the time and you want to give some time and give something back to the community, then apply. You can come in and have a look at the station to see what the role entails and go from there.

Bradley is able to provide cover during the evenings and weekends. If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Teresa, you could be an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb

Teresa Claxton

Self-employed hairdresser Teresa Claxton is paid to protect her...

Self-employed hairdresser Teresa Claxton is paid to protect her community as an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station.

She received a leaflet through her door one day from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service advertising an on-call firefighter role in Great Baddow and decided to apply.

She said: “It took me a whole year to get to the fitness standard but it was lockdown so I had plenty of time to train. You’ve got to get fit for the role. I had to learn to run, learn to lift and getting up the ladders has been a challenge climbing that height. But I’ve done it, and it’s the best job.

“The role is exhilarating, every day has been a challenge but it’s good, I like a challenge. Being an on-call firefighter is the polar opposite to being a hairdresser.

“It fits in really well with my job. I work for myself so I can provide cover for whatever hours are needed to fill in the gaps. There’s not a lot of worries for me during the day at the moment, but it works out that I provide cover two days a week and every evening and night.

“I’ve had great support from everyone I’ve met within the service and this has really helped to build my confidence and encourage me to continue even when I’ve had doubts.

“I’ve covered all kinds of topics which I’d never given a thought to before, such as electricity and shipping!”

If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Teresa, you could be an on-call firefighter.

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb

Sean Goodchild

Thirty-seven-year-old Sean Goodchild is a security officer for the...

Thirty-seven-year-old Sean Goodchild is a security officer for the Ministry of Defence who is also paid to protect his community as an on-call firefighter.

Sean has always had an interest in the Fire Service so he became an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station.

He said: “I joined the fire service mainly because I have always had an interest in it but also – it fits in perfectly around my job and my family life.

“In my main job, I work a shift pattern consisting of two days followed by two nights then four days off and during these days off are when I cover most of my required on-call 90 hours. I also have the option of covering some evenings and days while I’m home from London after a shift, which in truth, actually means I cover a lot of hours while I’m at home asleep!

“I enjoy that I pick the hours I wish to cover and although a 90 hours per week contract sounds a lot, it is easily managed (I even get to do the school runs most days).

“Every time my pager alerts me to a shout and I fly down the station to get my fire gear on, I get satisfaction knowing that my crew and I are helping the community, nearly every shout is something different and I feel a sense of pride to know that we’ve helped.

“If its suits your lifestyle and you live within 5 minutes of your local on-call fire station I would highly recommend you apply to be a firefighter and help your community.”

If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Sean, you could be an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb