By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service says it is struggling to recruit enough on-call fire fighters in an affluent area of Nottinghamshire.
In the year to December 2021, the average availability of on-call fire fighters in Nottinghamshire was 84.43 per cent which just misses the service target of 85 per cent.
But in Southwell it was “particularly challenging” where the availability is just 66 per cent.
An on-call firefighter is a paid person employed by a fire and rescue service who is ‘on-call’ to respond to a range of emergencies and other jobs.
Rather than being based at a station full-time, they have other jobs and commitments, and respond to emergencies only when alerted.
A fire service report showed 10 of the 16 local stations are performing above the 85% target. Warsop had the highest level of availability at 97 per cent.
The issue was discussed during a Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on January 14.
Area Manager Mick Sharman said: “Sections such as Southwell is where we experience these challenges but we continue to work hard to recruit.
“It is traditionally because of the level of affluence within Southwell and attracting individuals to do almost part-time additional work is an ongoing challenge.
“We do support Southwell by putting additional resources in there but the long-term recruitment is an ongoing challenge.
“There are some exceptional performing on-call stations in this period. Warsop was the top which in terms of commitment from the local community is absolutely outstanding.
“We never take for granted on-call availability and it is an ongoing challenge we are clearly focused on.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said at night, 18 out of 30 fire engines are on call and in the day, 16 are on call.
But on a normal day, the operational demand is for “six appliances at peak”.
He added: “Community-wise, the only thing we can carry on doing is raising the profile and communicate with the community in terms of tapping into their spirit to want to do it in terms of volunteerism.
“It has been something during the last 15 years which has been particularly challenging, and I think is going to continue to be so.
“The concern is if that carries on and the problem grows.”
He added recruiting on-call fire fighters is also a national problem.