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Worthing on standby at Henfield
Fire Engine Photos
No: 39508   Contributor: Jon Godden   Year: 2015   Manufacturer: Scania   Country: United Kingdom
Worthing on standby at Henfield

An illustration of why West Sussex Fire & Rescue is currently undertaking a retained recruitment champagne involving posters, videos, twitter chats, plus a "have a go" day at Horsham. On Saturday afternoon October 31st 2015 Worthings 2nd full time crewed WTL (51P2), HX06 GMO a Scania P270/CP31/CAFS/JDC sits outside Henfield Fire station whilst on standby due to a shortage of retained cover in the midst of the county. Waiting in Henfields single bay is Dennis Sabre/JDC HX04 WGG, and to add to the excitement for Dennis fans in the rear drill yard was Dennis Rapier R335 SPO, still used by the cadets scheme. So if you live or work near one of West Sussex retained crewed stations now is a good time to apply..sadly now I live in Somerset I am a bit more than 4 minutes away from any of them!
Nice to see 51P2 is wearing a Poppy.
Picture added on 03 November 2015 at 15:38
add commentComments:
it is no surprise that its difficult to recruit retained firefighters , I recently was forced to retire after 32 years , the last 9 months on sick leave due to a knee replacement , it took the 9 months for them to decide to retire me despite the fact I could do plenty station and off station fire safety work and had been but there were too many wholetime firefighters off sick and they had priority despite the work being on my stations ground so it was the brigade that put me on full sick leave which resulted in my being on half retainer at the end and as I was getting medically retired I was told you will get your pension as I have paid in for a very long time plus twelve weeks pay , I was given £460 as the pay was worked out on my last 3 months service !! if I was wholetime and I worked a busy retained station with 550 calls per annum I would have got tens of thousands , so where is the firefighter is a firefighter is a firefighter ........

Added by Danny Ramsay on 12 November 2015.
Being a former firefighter/victim of the cuts I think the retained have had a battering trying to prop up the fire and rescue service.

Added by Steven Hughes on 14 November 2015.
So where is the 'I serve my community' ?...seems its more about money for you my friend !!!!

Added by on 15 November 2015.
When I was serving before the cuts came I was daycrew/wholetime then I was told I will be getting knocked down to retained duties to a station that gets 6 calls a year then I was emailed to say I am being terminated due to being surplus to requirements thanks for your service we wish you all the best in the future..
I wouldn't have minded being put on flexibility cover crewing under crewed appliances during the week just jumping station to station.

Added by Steven Hughes on 20 November 2015.
i have no idea why the above didnt feel man enough to add his name to the slanderous statement in response to the retained firefighter who made some valid points , I doubt if he has any friends with an arrirude like that , i retired three years ago as a retained/wholetime firefighter and enjoyed both posts on different stations , I got what expecteted when I retired except for my retained post as I retired and got nothing so a very valid point was made about recruitment which is very difficult in small singkle pump retained stations and perhaps some parity upon retirement would help , there was no need for the remarks for if anyone has shown public spirit it is someone who has workrd the retained duty system for three years never mind thirty

Added by Angus Patterson on 20 November 2015.
The last comment was very unnecessary and degrading to (presumably) RDS personnel. If it were not for the Retained, the UK would have great difficulty in providing a meaningful country-wide service. As a former W/T member of the service who has great respect for our retained colleagues, I find the comment distasteful. The Retained is not a charity and its personnel are fully entitled to remuneration for the job they do irrespective if their motives are 'community service' or not.

Added by Keith Richardson on 20 November 2015.
To the anonymous poster - would you do your job for free? I certainly wouldn't...

Added by Pete on 21 November 2015.
to the person who called ma a friend , I am afraid for the first time in my life I have to say sorry I joined the rds in april 1983 , i got around £90 per month including calls and never got paid for station visits off station visits, and cadets -ever, back then we got 400-500 calls per year and it was indeed a vocation , after the last strike and modernisation which hit the rds hard with many station closures with no chance of redeplyment or nice reduncancy package , I actually became better off with payment for most hours worked and as many hours as I could do on home fire safety, firesetters and other projects , i was hoping to work till I was sixty as I was fit and had no problem with the fitness tests or core comp but unfortunately my knee gave in and I had a replacement , my point was simple , I was put on the sick by the fire service not by a doctor as I was passed fit to do alternative duties and would have done so till I was put out on medical grounds which I accepted was going to happen, my final pay was on my last three months so I got half sick pay £45 per week for twelve weeks which I thought was a bit unfair , that was my point

Added by Danny Ramsay on 24 November 2015.
In response to the comments above regarding my comment about 'serving the community'

Firstly, may I apologise for not putting my name...it was an oversight as I thought it was automatically entered !

I too have many friends in the RDS system (or retained service as it used to be ) for whom I have the utmost respect !...I also know of retained guys who on receipt of their first 'pay packet' queried what this was for ? as 'they thought they were doing their bit for the community'

My point was...a wholetime firefighter (or fireman as known previously)had one job that paid the bills (yes, many had part time jobs as well)..if they were on sick leave they would be VERY foolish to continue to do any part time work, and, as their employment contract said they should serve anywhere in the county of their employer...it follows, that if on light duties and to continue to be paid then they should be employed anywhere in that county doing whatever the fire authority required (subject to the doctor agreeing to this)...on the other hand, a retained firefighter most likely had another job they could possibly still do therefore allowing them an income ?..as the poster said he had a knee problem rendering them unfit for operational duties but not other work ?
To me its only correct that the wholetime employee should do the 'other work' first in the view of efficiency and so as to be seen to be getting 'best value'..rather than having a wholetimer sat doing nothing ?...and a retained firefighter doing 'light duties' on top of a full or part time job ?

I hope this clarifies my reasoning for my initial post which, I accept could maybe have been worded more eloquently ?

Added by David Fotheringham on 04 December 2015.
In response and this for me will be the end of the matter, first off , after the last strike and the subsequent modernisation a fire fighter is a firefighter is a firefighter was the new buzzword, rds were to be treated the same as the wholetime , the grey book had some changes to reflect this , unfortunately the rds are still treated like the poor relations and my predicament was a prime example , I worked rds in as I said a very busy station some 21 miles from the nearest wholetime station and was doing fire safety/firesetters work whilst on modified duties and there were no issues and I was fully aware that I would be paid off on medical reasons , I was tokd I would get 12 weeks pay based on my last 6 months average pay , no problem , all I had to do was work away till I had my leaving notice , as for another full time job I had none as it was a busy station and nobody did although some have part time jobs (500 plus calls) I was told I had to go off sick despite my doctor saying I was able to do the work I was doing , I was to go off sicj to accomodate a wholetime firefighter with a sprained wrist who was to do the duties I was doing , he had to get a bus to my station as he could not drive due to his injury and he was then driven around by another ill firefighter from another station some 20 miles in the other direction , these two had no local knowledge and lost the best part of the day travelling in opposite directions , I was doing the work with another rds firefighter who was getting extra pay for th ehours worked, in any case I was left on half sick pay by the time I was released by the service , my final pay was 12 seeks half sick pay which with holiday pay was just over £400 not a lot for 30 odd years , as for the rds not expecting pay I dont believe that for a minute sorry , I didnt join for the pay but quickly realised that I could earn a full time pay as it was a busy station and gave up my job as had everyone else bar two seld emplyed persons , all I am saying is the gulf is still there , senior officers who know nothing of the rds system and most wholetime firefighters , union officials and others treat the rds with scorn , I cannot see this changing when people think a wholetime firefighter has more rights to do modified duties than an rds firefighter in his own station , it isnt right to assume we all have other jobs when in fact I dont know a wholetime firefighter that doesnt have another job , a lot of rds do not have the luxury of another job due to where they live and it the only job they have and as for thinking we sjhould do it for nothing this person is wrong on so many levels , please read his response it is condescending with an underlying we are better than you atitude that makes me glad I am finished and also gkad I oaid into the pension scheme as well although the union didnt do much for us on that front either , its a shame , anywhere else in the world its integrated but here the devide and prejuduce still remain

Added by Danny Ramsay on 13 December 2015.
Well I feel I ought to reply to this !...my comments were not condescending in any way..I do not think either is better than the other..I'm amazed someone would give up a full time job to go retained..even on a busy station ?..just remember every incident you attend is someone else's misfortune at least, or life changing circumstance at worst...so you are relying on more shouts (and therefore other peoples misfortune) to provide your income !....Ideally, in the days of increased fire safety/awareness a 'zero return' on firecalls would be best..how would that leave you financially ??
I never said 'you should do it for nothing'..read my post please..I said I knew of people who did not expect payment on joining !
Your example of two wholetime firefighters off on sick doing fire safety work is a perfect example of the brigade getting 'best value' out of the situation...as opposed to another RDS firefighter claiming pay for assisting you ....there may have been other work for you ? A firefighter signs a contract to serve anywhere required in the county he or she is employed in be they wholetime or RDS.

Added by David Fotheringham on 19 January 2016.
First off , my county is over a hundred miles wide and the wholetime firefighter as I said lost a quarter of his day travellingvplus his breaks so it was a half day , hardly good value , each station in Scotland whole time or retained have targets on home fire safety visits and someone on modified duties is the perfect person to attain these, ad for relying on calls eyc that is simply ludicrous , some choose not do do other work some do , its personal and everyone is entitled to make choices and I am sure they have something in their locker to gall back on as they are all tradespersons , calls have fallen nearly a quarter in the last five years which is brilliant as its a lot less people are suffering hardships and it hasn't affected anyone's choice to only work the RDS as far as I know and to say that its peoples suffering that these men and woman rely on for income is plainly in bad taste making them out to be pirahnas. Surly every firefighter, ambulance persons etc all over the world would not be there were it not for peoples hurt and suffering. Can I suggest that you are indeed one of the few whole time firefighters who simply have a dislike of retained, it seems that way to me, all this smacks of such a thing, i am so glad I have retired and I am now finished commenting on this subject.

Added by Donny on 19 January 2016.
I am not one of 'the few wholetime firefighters who simply have a dislike of the retained'..in fact you are assuming I am a firefighter ??

My point was, and is that unless you are someone with plenty of money, or are working the RDS system on 'average shouts' at a busy station as you indicate you were at ? and getting a salary as opposed to attendance and turnout fees on top of the retainer I cannot see how an RDS firefighter can earn a living in todays society purely from shouts ?

I reiterate I have many friends in the retained service who I have the utmost respect for...its not a system I would like to work myself !


Added by David Fotheringham on 25 January 2016.
i think he already said he was a retired firefighter iand tbh I know where he is coming from , your retoric smacks of anti retained but dont worry you are not alone , the fbu is so anti retained its of no surprise so many are , as for these guys making a living if they are getting 4-500 a year plus hours for other duties they will make a living , no question , I think his point is that his station is in a town and probably covers a fair area and is somewhat isolated in relative terms , I know some towns of a decent size that are not exactly close to a city by many many miles and would be busy , helensbuegh, balloch , saltcoats are all in that category, ayrshire and dunfries have a few as does tayside and of course highlands and islands although they are all now one , hope this helps to calm the storm

Added by Willie Rennie on 27 January 2016.
Hi Willie you're right. Up here in Tayside we have 4 Whole/Time 2 Whole/Time/Retained, 15 Retained and 3 Volunteer stations, and Station 07 Forfar RTD is meant to be one of the busiest with 2 pumps and an Environmental Protection Unit. They have just received at the end of Last year 2 64 plate Volvo's the first in Tayside since S plate.

Added by Grant Melville on 28 January 2016.
If there was ever an incident that demonstrates the deep personal commitment of the Retained to their community, and money was not even a blip on this particular station's radar, just read the post dated 26.01.16 on the news page of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website, reporting on CFO Alasdair Hay's visit to Ballater RDS Station following January's devastating flooding in Aberdeenshire. It is perhaps a bit flippant to call them the 'magnificent seven' but read the report and you will understand my sentiment. That is commitment!

Added by Keith Richardson on 28 January 2016.
hi kieth thanks for your input , I totally agree with you concerning ballater and indeed any retained station, i am retained and my station gets around 250-300 calls per year and no money isnt the main concern , thing is if you get a dstation like ballater with around 100 calls it isnt a concern either but I know a couple on my station who have the luxury of not having another job and they do a lot of home visits , school visits etc and they are making around £19k per year every year this being possible easily, when you get to a station that is getting on for double that then there is the possibility to earn a decent living especially as retained now get holiday pay , pension etc I can understand both sides here and also the bias toward wholetime mentioned but its important to understand that its the brigades that have put these firefighters in this position , they didnt join to make it a wholetime job they commited to being retained but the volume of work as I doubt any employer would let them away constantly has meant they had a choice to make and they chose to commit yes that word again to the fire service , you cannot deny them a living, if the stations concerned were wholetime but they are not it wouldnt matter but the amount of firefighters it would take to cover the 20 or so they have for say two pumps and a special would make it ruinous in monetery terms for their brigades, nw as for the the guy stating that he was shortchanged on his 12 weeks instead of notice retained firefighters are hit with this all the time, if the employer has an inkling the firefighter is unlikley to return following an injury or operation they will put them on sick leave whether their doctor says they are fit for alternative duties or not as the savings to be had are not trivial, these firefighters are due this , it is in their contracts so why is it wrong to be upset if they dont get it ? most wholetime firefighters have other jobs and they dont do that for love so why condem the retained ?lets understand each others working practices more and try to get on, both do the same job at the end of the day.

Added by John Robertson on 02 February 2016.
Hello John .. I have read, and re-read your last on a number of occasions before submitting this reply. I have held off and held off, trying to understand exactly what you were saying, or implying, in your note of 02 February. Sincere apologies to you if I have misinterpreted your reply but it sounded a bit like you were lecturing (me) on the rights and wrongs of the RDS system versus WT versus relevant payments. Perhaps I did not make it clear in my comment of 28 January that there are times where money means nothing, and those who have displayed considerable self-sacrifice and dedication to their community to the detriment of their own homes, have demonstrated absolute commitment to the job and the community they serve, and deserve recognition for that commitment. Once again, I apologise if I have taken your comments out of context and you were in fact making these as general points to all, and not specifically to me. Conversely, if you do have any doubts over my views on this whole saga, please read / re-read my comment of 20 November 2015 above, and hopefully your mind will be put at rest with regard to my background and views on the Retained and their entitlements to payment. I note that you serve with the Retained ... keep up the good work.

Added by Keith Richardson on 18 February 2016.
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