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Kent Fire and Rescue Service launches recruitment drive to find 20-25 full-time firefighters

By KentOnline reporter

For the first time in a decade a recruitment drive has been launched to find new full-time firefighters for Kent.

Applicants will be able to submit their applications for the 20-25 new roles at Kent Fire and Rescue Service when the job window opens on Monday morning.

The closing date is a week later, on Monday May 15.

Firefighters in action. Stock image: Kent Fire and Rescue Service
Firefighters in action. Stock image: Kent Fire and Rescue Service

The last time vacancies were advertised for full-time firefighting careers was in 2007, shortly after CEO Ann Millington took up her role.

Since then the service has used on-call teams to respond to emergencies across the county.

Ms Millington put the long-term "job drought" down to cost savings by the service.

But it was a principle of the organisation, she said, to manage that reduction without having to make anyone redundant, but instead to see staff leave “within a natural time”.

The jobs will be open to those aged 18 and over, with the service looking for a broad range of skills and backgrounds.

Kent Fire and Rescue has seen its work change dramatically over recent years, with firefighters now having to attend welfare and medical response calls, as well as moving towards more preventative projects and initiatives within Kent’s communities and schools.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service chief executive Ann Millington
Kent Fire and Rescue Service chief executive Ann Millington

Watch manager Vicki Board has been working for KFRS for 15 years.

She said the role of the service has “completely changed” in her time there, with firefighters now attending fewer fire-related incidents.

Applicants must be prepared to attend mud rescues, road traffic collisions, chemical incidents, and a wide range of other call-outs.

Though new recruits will still need to be physically fit, Vicki added that the role now demands a more caring and supportive approach too, with the ‘stereotypical firefighter look’ seen as a thing of the past.

Vicki Board is a watch manager
Vicki Board is a watch manager

Once applications close after two weeks, successful recruits will take part in a variety of tests later in the year, including those for physical fitness, literacy and numeracy.

Their induction to the role of full-time firefighter will then start around September this year.

Video: Kent Fire and Rescue are recruiting for the first time in 10 years

Those interested in applying can find resources and frequently asked questions at Kent Fire and Rescue’s website, plus sign up to an email alert for the job openings.

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