People are being encouraged to become on-call firefighters in Cumbria as part of a national campaign.

The Need More awareness week began on Monday and aims to highlight opportunities in the fire service while busting myths about what it takes to be a firefighter.

Cumbria has 370 on-call firefighters who respond to a range of emergencies. They can still have another job until the call comes and then they become a professional firefighter.

On-call firefighters operate from 36 fire stations in the county and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has vacancies for more.

There are vacancies at Alston, Ambleside, Arnside, Barrow, Bootle, Broughton, Cockermouth, Coniston, Egremont, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkby Stephen, Longtown, Milnthorpe, Patterdale, Seascale, Sedbergh, Shap, Silloth, Walney, Windermere, Whitehaven and Workington.

Councillor Janet Willis, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for fire and rescue, said: “On-call firefighters are an integral part of our service and community. We are keen to encourage anyone who thinks they may have the right skills to find out what they can offer us - and in return, what we can offer you.”

Cumbria’s chief fire officer Steve Healey said: “On-call firefighters are very important members of the fire and rescue team and play a crucial role in our communities. They are called upon to attend the full range of incidents, often working alongside full-time firefighter colleagues. The National Awareness Week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the great work that our On-call Firefighters do all year round and to try and attract more potential applicants.”

On-call Firefighters come from every walk of life, including homemakers, shopkeepers, builders, farmers, office workers and directors of companies, together with people who are not currently employed.

Full training is provided on an ongoing basis and previous experience is not needed.

An on-call firefighter could be called out two or three times a week, for a few hours at a time, but at some quieter fire stations they may only be called once or twice each month. The on-call hours are based around people’s availability and other commitments.

To be an On-call Firefighter, you must have a strong desire to support the local community, be enthusiastic about working as part of a team, have a reasonable level of personal fitness, and live or work within five minutes of your local fire station.

Terry McDermott, National Fire Chiefs Council on-call lead and chief fire officer for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “If being a firefighter is something that appeals to you, but you already have a career or other commitments, now is the chance for you to find out if you can still make it happen.

“On-call firefighters are crucial to the work of the fire and rescue service, and we want to make sure our fire services reflect all local communities. So, if you want to receive world class training, work as part of a fantastic team and help your local community, we need to hear from you. There’s lots of flexibility to work around other commitments such as family, studying or work, but if you don’t get in touch you’ll never know.”

For details visit the Need More website at

The website also gives advice to employers and how having on-call firefighters within their business can bring advantages, including health and safety and medical response training, developing situational awareness, leadership skills and the ability to work under pressure.