New firefighters wanted in West Sussex

Emma and John on jet. Picture by Paul Archer

Emma and John on jet. Picture by Paul Archer

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A RECRUITMENT drive for wholetime community firefighters is taking place for the first time in eight years in West Sussex.

The county’s fire and rescue service said it was preparing for hundreds of potential applicants to visit its website when the online application process opens on November 30.

“The role of the fire service has changed considerably over recent years and there is now a much greater emphasis on working proactively to prevent emergencies. The modern firefighter must be equally as effective in a community engagement role as they are in an operational one,” said a statement released today (November 23).

Lee Neale, deputy chief fire officer for West Sussex, said becoming a firefighter was a ‘fantastic career opportunity’.

“Our firefighters are professionally trained to respond to fires and a range of other emergencies including road traffic collisions, chemical accidents, flooding and other natural disasters,” he said.

“They also spend an increasing amount of time working to prevent emergencies. They do this in a variety of ways from visiting vulnerable residents in their homes, educating and inspiring young people, advising businesses and engaging with people in the heart of our communities.”

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, added: “This is an exciting opportunity to join a dedicated team of firefighters who are committed to delivering the best possible service to people in West Sussex. We are anticipating a high number of applications and a robust and highly-competitive recruitment process.

“Applications are welcomed from all members of our diverse communities. Ideal applicants will be physically fit, have excellent communication skills and be passionate about protecting people whether that is through operational activity or prevention and education work.”

The online application process opens at 9am on November 30. Applications will be restricted to the first 700 to register their interest via email.

The current joining salary for a wholetime community firefighter is £20,217 rising to £29,345.

Wholetime community firefighters work a 42-hour week in an assigned shift pattern and could be posted to any fire station in the county.

Applicants should live in West Sussex, be at least 17½-years-old at the time of their application and have five GCSEs at Grade C or equivalent including English language, mathematics and science.

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