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Watch Manager retires after 31 years’ of service


Date: 5th April, 2016

A Bradford on Avon on-call firefighter who served his community for more than 30 years has retired.

Sean Gerrish joined the then Wiltshire Fire Brigade in February 1985, and became Watch Manager and officer in charge of Bradford on Avon fire station in September 1997, a position he maintained until his retirement on 29 February this year.

A presentation evening was held at the fire station on 4 April, when Sean received his certificate of service from Group Manager Ian Jeary.

As well as members of the Bradford on Avon crew, fellow on-call firefighters from Melksham and Trowbridge also attended, together with former colleagues.

GM Jeary said: “It was my honour to make the presentation and say a big ‘thank you’ for 31 years of service to the station and the wider community of Bradford on Avon – it’s a remarkable achievement. People like Sean are the bedrock of the Fire and Rescue Service, and our thanks go to his family as well, as they have supported him throughout those years.”

Sean said: “Being an on-call firefighter is very demanding but also very rewarding, and it was a real pleasure to see so many friends and colleagues at the presentation. All I can say is, thank you and keep up the good work!”

Crew Manager Steve Otterwell presented Sean with a ceremonial fire axe on behalf of the Bradford on Avon crew, while there were also flowers for Sean’s wife Kim.

Bradford on Avon would welcome new on-call firefighters who can give fire cover on weekdays and at weekends.

On-call firefighters respond to a pager when Fire Control requires their attendance at an incident – contracted hours can vary, but personnel usually make themselves available for between 48 and 120 hours each week. Between them, each fire station team will provide cover for weekdays, evenings, nights and weekends.

To be on-call, you need to be able to respond to the fire station in around five minutes once your pager goes off, and this can be from home or work. Crews can be called to all sorts of emergencies, including fires, road traffic collisions, animal rescues and flooding.

GM Jeary said: “On-call firefighters receive the same training and development as wholetime colleagues, and employers can benefit from those skills, which include first aid, manual handling, a greater understanding of health & safety in the workplace, and enhanced team spirit. The pay does vary, depending on how much cover you give, but it is fantastically rewarding to be a part of your community and to be in a position to help people.”

If you are interested in becoming an on-call firefighter with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, you can find out more at www.dwfire.org.uk/working-for-us

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