FIRMS in Huddersfield were today urged to free up workers to become firefighters.
Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik launched a new project to boost the number of retained firefighters.
The MP, who is Fire Minister, wants firms to help out.
The launch of the Employers’ Information Toolkit is in response to comments from local employers around the country that they would welcome more information about the role of on-call firefighters – also known as retained firefighters.
Mr Malik paid tribute to the professionalism and commitment of all on-call firefighters and stressed their vital role in protecting rural communities and the benefits they bring to their main employers.
In the Huddersfield area, there are retained firefighters at Skelmanthorpe, Meltham, Marsden and Holmfirth.
Mr Malik said: “There are many benefits to employers who release staff to become on-call firefighters.
“They can pick up further skills including leadership, first aid care, health and safety training.
“Fire and Rescue Services need to recruit on-call firefighters and I hope that businesses, no matter how big or small, will respond positively to their staff asking to be able to become as on-call firefighters.
“The Government is grateful to all those businesses who are able to release their staff and to the people who are willing to give up their time to be on-call firefighters to help save the lives of others.”
On-call firefighters are dedicated paid volunteers. But unlike full-time firefighters they aren’t based at a fire station – many have jobs elsewhere and head to their local fire station when there's an emergency call.
On-call Firefighters provide England with 30% of all firefighting personnel, and crews to 50% of fire stations
Serving as an on-call firefighter is open to both men and women. Nationally 3.8% of on-call firefighters are women.
There are currently nearly 14,200 on-call (retained duty system) firefighters in England.
On-call firefighters serve the community in which they live and/or work. They agree to be available to respond for a certain number of hours per week. They carry a pager and must be able to get to the fire station within five minutes of a call during the times they have booked available to cover.
Once alerted, they make their way to the station to respond to the incident.