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Push for more on-call firefighters in south Wiltshire

Date: 6th November, 2017

Family relationships aren’t unusual in the fire and rescue service – especially at on-call stations, where crews are drawn from the one community.

Over the years, Wilton fire station has seen fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, brothers and cousins – but it can now lay claim to its first father and daughter in Jim and Charlotte Twomey.

With nearly 44 years of service, Jim is Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s longest serving firefighter, having joined the then Wiltshire Fire Brigade in December 1973. As a self-employed taxi driver, the 62-year-old juggles his business with fire calls, training and running the station – he’s been Watch Manager in charge of Wilton for the last 32 years.

Youngest daughter Charlotte, a 24-year-old care assistant, joined the Service in April this year and is now in her development phase as a firefighter. She said: “I gave it a go as I’d grown up with the station because of dad; at first, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, especially with the fitness requirements, but I worked hard, had lots of support, and made it through! Knowing that you can help people is an amazing feeling, and you never know what the next call will bring. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

While she is one of two new recruits currently finding their feet at the station, there is still a need for more people to get involved – and you don’t have to be related to an existing firefighter!

Jim said: “I originally joined up as my brother was a firefighter, and I encouraged Charlotte, but we perhaps had the advantage of knowing what was required. The ‘give it a go’ events that are being held over the coming weeks at Wilton, Salisbury and Amesbury are a chance for anyone interested in being a firefighter to get that ‘hands on’ experience and ask all the questions they might have ahead of applying.”

He added: “Every on-call station wants to have a crew available 24/7, so if we can get as many people as possible, that takes the pressure off everyone. Here at Wilton, we need a mix of cover – so availability during the day, at night and over weekends – and that’s the case at most stations. Being involved in your community as a firefighter is a tremendous opportunity, I certainly wouldn’t have stayed for over 40 years if it wasn’t!”

There will be a recruitment stand outside Salisbury Guildhall between 9am and 2pm on Tuesday 14 November for anyone from the local area to find out more about becoming an on-call firefighter.

Following on from that, there will be three ‘give it a go’ events, aimed at specific fire station areas:

Further information about being an on-call firefighter can also be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/on-call-firefighters

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