Family relationships aren’t unusual in the fire and rescue service – especially at on-call stations, where crews are drawn from the one community, according to Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
For many years, Wilton fire station has been manned by fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, brothers and cousins – but now has its first father and daughter in Jim and Charlotte Twomey.
With nearly 44 years of service, Jim is the service’s longest-serving firefighter – joining Wiltshire Fire Brigade in December, 1973. A self-employed taxi driver, Jim, now 62, juggles his business with fire calls, training and running the station. He’s been Watch Manager in Wilton for the past 32 years.
Charlotte, Jim’s youngest daughter and a 24-year-old care assistant, joined the service in April. She said: “I gave it a go as I’d grown up with the station because of dad; at first, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, especially with the fitness requirements, but I worked hard, had lots of support, and made it through! Knowing you can help people is an amazing feeling, and you never know what the next call will bring. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
She is one of two new recruits at the station, but the service needs more people to get involved – but it’s not necessary to be related to an existing firefighter!
Jim said: “I originally joined up as my brother was a firefighter, and I encouraged Charlotte, but we perhaps had the advantage of knowing what was required. The ‘give it a go’ events during the coming weeks at Wilton, Salisbury and Amesbury are a chance for anyone interested in being a firefighter to get that ‘hands on’ experience and ask all the questions they might have, ahead of applying.”
He added: “Every on-call station needs a crew available 24/7, so getting as many people as possible takes the pressure off everyone. Here at Wilton, we need a mix of cover aand availability – day, night and over weekends – as at most stations.”
A recruitment stand is outside Salisbury Guildhall between 9am and 2pm on Tuesday, November 14, for anyone to find out more about becoming an on-call firefighter.
Three ‘give it a go’ events are aimed at fire station areas:
- Monday, November 20, 7pm to 9pm – Salisbury fire station
- Monday, November 27, 7pm to 9pm – Amesbury fire station
- Saturday, December 2, 10am to 2pm – Wilton fire station
More details: www.dwfire.org.uk/on-call-firefighters