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On-call: FF Darryn Edwards

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Herefordshire butcher is top on-call firefighter

Darryn Edwards joined HWFRS as an on-call firefighter in 2017. He combines this role with working as a butcher in Hereford, but his alerter means that for 50 hours a week during evenings and weekends, he can be called-out and at the Eardisley Fire Station within five minutes to join the rest of the crew to attend an emergency in the village or surrounding area.

Af076aherefordfireawardsjhp dedwards sm"I'm amazed at the huge variety of the jobs we go to – even in our little village – car accidents, people stuck in underground drains, swimmers missing in the river, and of course cats stuck up trees!" said Darryn (30), whose early commitment to the fire service led to him being awarded Top On-Call Firefighter Recruit of the Year in 2018.

"Using breathing apparatus for the first time was amazing – we knew it was a kitchen fire but weren't expecting a big job based on the turnout sheet. But the large amount of smoke was visible half a mile away and the residents running out into the street to flag us down warned us it was a big incident and definitely got my adrenaline going. And I was able to locate and rescue the family dog!

"Balancing regular work with my on-call time is working well – my boss is very understanding with training days and occasionally being late for work if I've been on a shout during the night, and the rota system makes it very easy to book time off. It's flexible enough to allow me to commit to cover without using up all of my spare time.

"I'd really recommend becoming on-call firefighter – more often than not, when the Fire Service is called, somebody is in a desperate situation and only we can help. By joining, you can help ensure enough firefighters are available to ride the truck which is essential in our villages. Even though we may only be called-out a few times a month, it makes the life-saving difference of help arriving in under 10 minutes instead of in around half an hour."

Darryn's boss, Herefordshire Meats company director Sean Greves-Jones, said: "The on-call firefighters play a vital role in the safety of our communities in Herefordshire. As an employer I am happy to enable Darryn to be a part of this important service, and accommodate within the business his commitment to training and attending incidents – it's all for the good of our village and the county."

To learn more about becoming an on-call firefighter: