Member of the fire service rescuing an injured animal
01 Oct 2018

An owler of a call-out

Ian Simpson Area Manager Manufacturing

Ever wondered what life would be like as an On-Call firefighter? I’ll let you in on a secret – no two days are ever the same! The work is varied and you have the opportunity to make a real difference.

Alongside my role at British Steel, I work flexible hours as an On-Call Watch Manager at Winterton Fire Station. I’ve supported Humberside Fire and Rescue for 21 years – whether that’s putting out grassland fires or helping to rescue wild animals from hazardous situations. Part of my job is also educational – going round different schools to talk with pupils about the importance of fire safety.

I remember being at one school when I received an incident call on my radio. I’d just finished sharing some interesting stories with the children about when we rescued a wild owl caught in a fishing line, and when we helped remove a kitten trapped behind a car dashboard, and then the call came through. Ironically, it was about a pigeon stuck in a chimney. Luckily, it freed itself.

A few years ago, I was also in charge of a site exercise we ran on the A18 from a fire service perspective. People volunteered to be live casualties, so we could run some training on road traffic collisions. Everyone involved responded really well to the ‘incident’ and we’re grateful to those who got involved to support us.

We’re given an ‘alerter’ (similar to a pager) so we can be notified of any incidents straight away. You could be in the middle of a shower or having a bite to eat when the alert comes through, but in the end – what’s more important? I’ll drop what I’m doing to rush through to where I’m needed. When there’s the potential to save a life, I know what matters most. Even if it means turning up in my slippers to get there on time!

Being safety conscious is a vital part of both working at British Steel and Humberside Fire and Rescue. My previous role at the plate mill involved developing and implementing hot work standards as the fire and hot work champion. I use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to work with others as an advocate of health and safety.

I hope this blog gives you a flavour of what it’s like as an On-Call firefighter, but you can always follow us on Facebook for more information or visit our website to register your interest. Keep an eye open for more blogs where I’ll be sharing top tips for fire safety!


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