Fred Morton is an on-call firefighter at Wesham station. When he’s not responding to incidents in his local area, he works as a self-employed tree surgeon and landscaper. We caught up with him to see what he enjoys about his role at LFRS.
Why did you want to become an on-call firefighter?
I went for wholetime first and wasn’t successful, but I did apply for both roles to start my journey as a firefighter. I’m glad I started on call as there’s a massive team spirit and a real tight bond here, so I’ve found it really nice to settle in. I’ve lived in the area for four years and it’s great to be part of a new team. I just consider myself as a firefighter in the community now, neighbours ask how you’re getting on and assume that you’re going to every incident that’s happening in the neighbourhood!
How long have you been on call?
I’ve been at Wesham since March so I’m really fresh, the learning side of it has also been great for me because I love to get stuck in. I’m practical in my day job as a self-employed tree surgeon and landscaper, so there’s lots of transferrable skills.
Is the reality different from your expectations before signing up?
At first I worried that I had ruined my family life by being on call, but I have found the balance as station managers are really accommodating with figuring out your hours and what works best for you. I’ve got two young boys and my son is sometimes waiting at the door for me when he knows I’ve been out with the firefighters! As a family we are adjusting, we have a continental breakfast together on a Saturday as I’m on call and we can’t go out. It’s better than what I expected because I don’t treat myself as an “on-call” firefighter, I just see myself as a firefighter at my local station.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying?
My advice would be to speak to the on-call support officers and utilise the support that’s there in the application process, especially if you’re in two minds about applying, there are people you can speak to when you’re signing up.
Have you been on any incidents yet?
For five or six weeks there was nothing, but then I had four road traffic collisions in a row within the space of a week. Two were minor and two major, they were all at 11pm at night and on the same stretch of road, which was weird! I do a lot of weekend cover, so you’ll be sat at home thinking you’re stuck in for the weekend but when something happens it’s go time and you realise what we do is really important.
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Find out more about being an on-call firefighter and apply here: www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/careers