Staff from Booths supermarket sign up as retained firefighters

The Westmorland Gazette: Firefighters Simon Watton and Johnny Nicholls with Booths customer service manager Marj Gibson Firefighters Simon Watton and Johnny Nicholls with Booths customer service manager Marj Gibson

A TEAM of retail workers have proved themselves ‘super’ in more ways than one after signing up to help save lives in their local area.

Several staff who work for the Booths supermarket chain have signed up to be ‘retained firefighters’ — a role they carry out in addition to their full-time employment — which means they can be called on at a moment’s notice to help out in a fire and rescue emergency.

“It’s quite a big commitment, for both the retained firefighter and their employer, but it’s also essential,” explained Simon Watton, a retained firefighter who also works full-time at the supermarket in Carnforth.

“It’s a very worthwhile thing to do too.”

Now the 48-year-old, along with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, is hoping to encourage more people to sign up to be part of the scheme — and encourage their employers to allow them time away from work to fulfill the vital role.

“There’s a real shortage of day crews,” said Mr Watton, of Carnforth.

“More people are needed who are willing to help out in an emergency — and I would urge them to come forward.”

Retained firefighters are usually people who have another job — although they now wholly or partly staff around 75 per cent of the Lancashire’s fire stations, including Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Silverdale and Hornby.

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Mr Watton explained that he could be on-call during both the day and night and, because he works so close to the M6, is often called out to incidents on the motorway.

“It can be anything,” he said. “Car crashes or anything else where a fire crew would be needed.”

Currently Booths supermarket is one of the county’s biggest supporters of the scheme, although anybody can allow their employees to take part.

“We’re delighted to support employees who are willing to give something back to their local communities through their work as retained firefighters,” said Edwin Booth, chairman of Booths.

“We’re proud of the people who work for us and are appreciative of the fact that their willingness to go the extra mile is part and parcel of their approach to their work in general.”

More information can be found at www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/retained-firefighters

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