FF Scott Hitchen is an on-call firefighter at Hyndburn Fire Station. He has been an on-call firefighter for eighteen months and his primary job is working as a Studio Manager at printing company, Daltons.
“I was out running when my friend was telling me about his new job as a firefighter for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. It’s a job I’ve never considered but hearing my friend talk about it with such enthusiasm piqued my interest. Back home I went on the Lancashire Fire and Rescue website to learn more and enrolled as an on-call firefighter, responding to incidents from my place of work.”
I was the oldest recruit on my course and even though it was hard, my fitness from regular running was a huge help. I have been a studio manager at Daltons Printers for thirty years and my on-call job just presents me with totally different scenarios that I wouldn’t get sat at my computer. Even though I enjoy my job at Daltons, being an on-call firefighter gives me a huge contrast, lots of learning, training and a different bunch of people.
My colleagues and managers have been really supportive and flexible. They have family members who work within the emergency services so could see the benefit of me helping our community. If my pager sounds, I run down the stairs, grab my bike, my colleagues open the shutter doors for me and I can cycle to the station in a minute.
I attend a drill night on Tuesday evenings so that doesn’t impact my working hours however does mean I sometimes have to move family commitments.
David Mattison, co-owner of Daltons said: “we’re a family run business that has been operating in Accrington since 1972. It is owned by my brother and I and along with Scott have eight members of staff. We produce anything from magazines to brochures to packaging and distribute all over the country. We’re proud to have Scott serving our local community and are happy to be flexible in order to allow him to respond to incidents. If we needed to call 999 it is nice to know that it is local people coming to our rescue.”
On-call firefighters respond to incidents via an ‘alerter’ and must live or work five minutes from the station. They must also attend a drill night once a week where they keep their skills up-to-date and train with their fellow on-call colleagues. Scott gives on-call cover when at work because his home address is outside of the five minute on-call zone.
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