Could you employ an on-call firefighter?
- On-call firefighters are people who carry out their daily lives just like anyone else, with the exception that when available they answer emergency calls
- On-call firefighters provide anything from 50 to 120 hours a week (including weekdays, evenings and weekends).
- To be on-call firefighter’s individuals must live or work within 5 minutes of the station.
- On-call firefighters commit to attending weekly evening drill sessions at their station.
- The average time on-call crews were called out in 2018 was twice a week.
- At some incidents, an on-call firefighter could return in as little as 20 minutes.
- They are an invaluable part of the team and keep their local communities safe.
- Many on-call firefighters are in full time employment with local employers who are keen to support their community. They are just like any other employee, except they may be on standby for some of their normal working hours.
Could you release an employee to become an on-call firefighter?
We understand releasing an employee as an on-call firefighter is an important decision. It could not happen without your agreement and you need to know how it would work to enable you to make an informed decision and feel confident about supporting your community in this way.
It may be as an employer, you have sufficient flexibility to enable staff to be released to attend emergency incidents when required. However, we do realise some employers do not have the capacity to commit to releasing members of their staff. We would be happy to discuss possible options available to support on-call firefighters in your employment for example, flexibility to enable on-call firefighters to attend scheduled training.
The impact on your business
The average number of call outs for an on-call firefighter are about two or three times a week, usually for about an hour. It is difficult to predict how often an individual firefighter might get called out and it also depends on the hours of availability each individual provides. On-call firefighters provide their hours of availability 1 week in advance. There is some flexibility in the system, so should a busy week at work arise or urgent deadlines loom, then your business takes priority.
For more detailed information, please see take a look at our Employer’s Guide to On-call Firefighters.
Take a look at the case studies below to see how employing an on-call firefighter works for some businesses across West Yorkshire.