How do you become a firefighter?

11:15 a.m. May 9, 2022

Three women-turned-firefighters lead a campaign to recruit more people to Norfolk’s service.

The Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has issued a call to hire an additional 16 “full-time” firefighters to keep the county safe.

Firefighters battle a blaze in Rackheath.
– Credit: Neil Didsbury

Full-time firefighters work a four-shift schedule (two days, two nights) and then four days off, to ensure stations are covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service currently has around 280 full-time firefighters.

In addition to firefighting, they handle other emergencies, such as high and confined space rescues, traffic accidents, floods, and animal rescues.

They also help reduce risk, such as installing smoke detectors in homes and educating people on how to protect their homes.

Tim Edwards

Tim Edwards, fire chief for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.
– Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Tim Edwards, Fire Chief of Norfolk Fire and Rescue, said: “The role of a firefighter is varied and interesting, but at the end of the day it’s about wanting to support your local community and working to protect it and to prevent fires and other emergencies from occurring.”

Full training is given, but fire chiefs say the role is suitable for people aged 18 and over who are reasonably fit, enjoy working in a team, enjoy helping people and want to make a difference in their communities.

Carrow, Sprowston, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and North Earlham stations have full-time firefighters.

Margaret Dewsbury, Conservative councilor for Hingham.

Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council
– Credit: Norfolk Conservators

Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council, of which the fire service is a part, said: “We are delighted to begin the search for Norfolk’s future firefighters as we enter a busy phase for our service.”

The application window runs from Monday May 9 to Sunday May 29, with details on

‘Every day is so different’ – four firefighters explain why they serve

Sprowston-based Ellie Mason

Ellie Mason

Firefighter Ellie Mason
– Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

“I got a degree in journalism and media and started working in an office as a social media manager.

“I first became interested in health and fitness during my freshman year in college, and at work I quickly realized I wanted to do something that involved being more active. .

“Went to visit a few fire stations when I returned to Norfolk in 2019 as I wanted to find out more.

“There are so many different elements to a firefighter’s job that you need to be sure you’ll be able to handle different situations.

“I tested how I handled different elements, like working at heights and in confined spaces, and the fitness levels required.

“I continued to work hard with my fitness to prepare for the opening of recruitment in 2020, because I really wanted to give my best.

“I’ve tried all sorts of different classes including bodybuilding, weightlifting and cross fit. I applied in 2020 and started training in February 2021 so I’m halfway through my apprenticeship.

“Anyone who is interested in health and fitness and wants to help people should consider applying. It’s definitely not a nine-to-five job, but I love that every day is so different. “

Carrow-based Chloe Peek

Chloe at a glance

Chloe Peek, firefighter
– Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

The former hairdresser and paralegal said: “Maintaining health and fitness has always been important to me, but I’ve always seen firefighters as male dominated and wouldn’t be strong enough.

“While a high level of fitness is required, it is not unachievable. You are probably more capable than you think.

“As long as you have the right qualities such as a desire to help others and a willingness to learn, the training will provide you with the practical skills needed.

“I love my job. Everyone I’ve worked with has helped and supported me, and I’ve never felt like being a woman has held me back.”

Andrea Thake, based in North Earlham

Andrea Thake

Firefighter Andrea Thake
– Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Joined the Fire and Rescue Service in February 2021 after a career at sea crewing yachts.

She said: “It’s really important that I do work that really means something to me, that is rewarding and where I can work as a team.”

Nick Howell, based in Great Yarmouth

Nick Howel

Firefighter Nick Howell
– Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

He said: “I come from a sporting background and the health and fitness side of the job definitely appealed to me.

“Being in these team sports environments also meant that the watchmaking life appealed to me.

“We work very closely as a team both in our watch but also in the whole service.

“The work we do makes a real difference in the community.”

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