Manea Fire Station could be forced to shut if new on-call firefighters not recruited

MP Steve Barclay (centre), Watch Commander Mark Milner, Nick Foster, Area Commander and Gary Mitchle

MP Steve Barclay (centre), Watch Commander Mark Milner, Nick Foster, Area Commander and Gary Mitchley, Group Commander. - Credit: Archant

Manea Fire Station has launched an urgent SOS for new on-call firefighters to help keep the station open.

Manea fire station recruiting on-call firefighters.

Manea fire station recruiting on-call firefighters. - Credit: Archant

There are six on-call firefighters with the station the moment but the service needs to increase this number to ensure there are enough people available to cover call-outs.

It is important to have cover at night and at weekends when more people are at home.

A recruitment drive held 18 months ago attracted a few potential on-call firefighters for the station but only one went on to complete the training and he has since left due to personal commitments.

Watch commander Mark Milner, who has served Manea for nearly 12 years, said: “People could see the training nights as an alternative to going to the gym. It is enjoyable to learn new skills and it is not only an opportunity to socialise and meet new people but also to serve the community.

“Two years ago we were fighting to keep Manea Fire Station open because of cutbacks, now we are fighting to keep it open because we are struggling to get the number of firefighters needed.

“We really don’t want to see our community fire station closed, so it is a question of sign-up or possibly lose it.”

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Members of Cambs Fire and Rescue Service including Mr Milner met with MP Steve Barclay to discuss the problem of recruitment.

Mr Barclay said: “We fought long and hard to keep Manea fire station open,

“I personally got involved by pointing out other ways the fire service could cut costs, like reducing the number of press officers it had.

“Now the fire station is under-threat again, but this time it is not about money, it is about firefighter numbers and we need people who live and/or work within five minutes of the station to step up.

“I am writing to all residents urging them to sign-up.”

Recruits would be given full training. Applications are welcome from both men and women and there is no upper age limit, the only requirement is to be fit and healthy.

On-call firefighters are paid almost £3,000 a year retaining fee and then £13 an hour for call-outs, drill sessions and any other work (not including training). There is an average of two call-outs a month.

In return recruits will have to attend weekly training nights, which are held every Thursday for two hours. Firefighters get five weeks paid holiday a year.

Anyone interested should pop along to the fire station in Westfield Road on any Thursday between 7pm and 9pm, or visit the website for further information.

Those interested can also book a place on the upcoming Have-a-Go day on February 7 at Huntingdon Fire Station, where there is a session just for women. To book a place call 01480 444500.