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Pub landlord raises the bar as on-call firefighter

March 3 2020

A landlord near Leek spends his days pulling pints or pulling people from burning buildings as part of his role as an on-call firefighter.

It's great to help local people and you get a real buzz from being called.

Firefighter Antony Hill

Antony Hill has been running the Fox & Goose in Foxt for three years and has spent the last year balancing his job with the possibility of being called on to fight a blaze in the Ipstones area after hearing that the local fire station was short of on-call firefighters.

The 36-year-old said: “I got involved 12 months ago after I heard they were short of people. It’s great to help local people and you get a real buzz from being called.

“You never know what you’re going to be called to until you get to the station so it’s very varied. You can get called to completely different stuff from tractor fires, garage fires or even helping to search for missing people. You just never know.”

Antony is on-call for around 100 hours a week and with the help of staff at the pub, is able to leave the dishes and empty glasses at any minute to dash to his nearest station – Ipstones.

He added: “We always make sure that there’s enough staff in and work together to make sure I can leave the pub if I get called.

“Everyone in the area knows me and the regulars think it’s a great thing for the community. If I’m helping in the kitchen or cooking and get called I often get onto the fire engine smelling of food which the other firefighters always pick up on.

“The on-call firefighters have local knowledge because we all live here so we know all the back lanes and farms and know the best way to get there if there is an incident. The local knowledge is important and attending incidents where people know us as well is a bonus.

“Turning up and people recognising you makes them more relaxed whereas they could be more timid so it works better that way too.”

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service is recruiting for on-call firefighters across the county. On-call firefighters provide emergency response cover from either their home or work base, which needs to be within five minutes of their local station. After the initial training course, on-call firefighters will attend weekly drill nights to ensure they maintain their skills, along with many more opportunities for training throughout the year.

Antony added: “The training lasted weeks and it was a challenge but really interesting, from learning about how to deal with road traffic collisions, to first aid and how to deal with causalities. We learnt loads.

“Anyone interested in joining should attend one of our drill nights, see what goes on and speak to everyone at the station.”

Anyone looking to become an on-call firefighter must by over 18 and live within five minutes of their nearest station. For more information, visit: https://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/careers/retained-on-call-firefighters/.