Drop-in day to boost firefighter numbers in Selsey

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Selsey fire station is facing increasing pressure due to a shortage of retained firefighters – and staff hope that an event this weekend will make a change.

A drop-in event at the station on Saturday looks to boost firefighter numbers and welcome potential new recruits.

From 10.30am to 3pm members of the public will have an opportunity to find out about the life of a firefighter, as well as a chance to see the vehicles and equipment in the station and learn about other services offered by firefighters.

John Hicks, who has been a firefighter at Selsey for nine years, said: “Our aim is to have a fire engine ready to go 24 hours a day – early intervention of a fire can make all the difference, especially as the next nearest fire station is Chichester which is 18 minutes away.

“The quicker we get to the fire the better chance we have.

“We are looking for four or five firefighters because we need at least four people to crew an engine.”

The shortage of staff was highlighted on Saturday night following a house fire in Beach Gardens, Selsey, West Sussex Fire and Rescue said.

According to the fire service, the first 999 call was made at 11.27pm, but due to a shortage of available firefighters, the Selsey team was not available to crew the fire engine until midnight.

The first crew from Chichester arrived at 11.45pm and after initial firefighting and scene assessment, requested two extra appliances at 11.55pm. The Selsey crew was then mobilised and arrived at 12.04am.

Station manager Stuart Beddoe said: “The shortage of retained firefighters is a long- running national issue for the fire and rescue service.

“Being on the peninsular does create specific local considerations, including significantly limiting our catchment area for potential recruits.

“I’d urge anyone interested in becoming a retained firefighter and serving their community to get in touch or come along for a chat on Saturday.”