Firefighter Chris Cox

ff Chris Cox

“While I lived ​near Kingsland, I had not had too much to do with village life,” he said. “This was a way of putting something back as well as adding another string to my bow after working in hotels and retail for over 20 years.”

Chris signed up to be an on-call firefighter in February 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to hit which delayed him being able to take his courses until October. But he was soon in the action after qualifying.

“After I started, we had five shouts in the first two weeks but we have had very few in the last month,” he said.“ Overall, we get around 100 shouts in a year.

“The first few I went on were automatic fire alarms ​and smaller jobs, so the first shout which really made an impact was a fire at a wood-chipping grader. That was my first experience of using breathing apparatus operationally.”

Chris acknowledges the support he has received from his wife and family, as well as his employer, since making the commitment to become an on-call firefighter.

“My young daughter is particularly proud of her dad,” he said. “And B&Q and my manager have been great in giving me the time that I needed, things have been quite busy.”

Jonathan Davis, manager of Leominster B&Q, said: “It has been really great to be able to support Chris with his development both inside and outside of B&Q. Both myself and the whole store team are really proud to be able to have an on-call firefighter as part of our B&Q family.”

Chris had no problem with the fitness requirements of the fire service. “I have quite a physical job and I’m constantly on my feet,” he said.“And I’ve got the determination. Becoming an on-call firefighter is a great way of giving back to the community and gaining a wide variety of life skills.

“You also gain a family atmosphere and really feel part of a team – I know that at Kingsland I will always have 10 colleagues behind me who will always be watching my back.”

On-Call firefighters combine their roles with other careers, or roles at home, providing a vital service to the community in which they live and work. Some work for local businesses, others are self-employed, while others are home-makers – but all enjoy the balance of their firefighter commitments with their other responsibilities, and the extra income too.

To learn more about becoming an on-call firefighter: