Diary of Firefighter Trevor Williams, Clun

Clun firefighter Trevor Williams in his dual role as officer in charge at Clun as firefighters wash down the fire appliance after the evening drill session|Clun firefighter Trevor Williams at work sorting fresh farm eggs|Firefighter Trevor Williams, in his dual role as officer in charge, with the retained crew at Clun|

Trevor Williams has 20 years experience as a firefighter and is the officer in charge at the remote south Shropshire fire station in Clun which doesn't have many fires but firefighters still have to be trained and ready for any incident.

He wrote about his personal experience attending incidents in and around the pretty south Shropshire town which has its own fire station.

Trevor, 40, with wife Jacqui and two boys aged 4 and 6, is a partner running the family poultry farm business, Clun Farm Eggs, with 10,500 chickens producing eggs for the area - just 500 yards from the fire station.

In a report to the Fire Authority, Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor described Sub Officer Williams as having a "wealth" of experience and his personal observations gave a "greater insight" into the retained service more than "any number of nationally generated reports could ever convey."

Sub Officer Williams said in his report to the Fire Authority that recruitment for the retained service was a problem while the wholetime service was oversubscribed. Employers were also reluctant to let people join the retained service making it "extremely" hard to find cover for the area. Luckily there were many self employed in Clun which boosted the service but unfortunately not all of them work in the town.

The introduction of a shift system at weekends at Clun station had made the job more family friendly which had proved very popular with personnel and their families. The new Clun fire appliance was now fully crewed at weekends.

Two hour drill nights attended by firefighters who had just spent a day at work were also not conducive to receive training on the detailed number of hi-tec equipment now used.

Sub Officer Williams's drill night diary recording a 16 ½ hour day with less than two hours break was an extreme example of what can and does sometimes happen:

6.15am get up

7am start work

12.30 half hour lunch break

4.45pm back home for quick tea, first chat of the day with family, get changed into uniform

6pm arrive at Clun fire station

6.15pm leave Clun station for 1hr 10 minute drive to Telford training HQ

7.30pm receive briefing on fire exercise from incident commander

8.pm half hour exercise and debrief

9.10pm drive back to Clun

10.25pm wash fire appliance, sign log books

10.45pm book off duty

Trevor, who said he hadn't expected his report to have had such a reaction, has now introduced very popular weekend training sessions.

"Our voice has been heard and the politicians have listened. It will benefit the people of rural areas and retained firefighters across Shropshire and that is a good result."

Trevor said life was hectic with a family, running a business as well as a fire station and turning out as a firefighter to a call.

"It is a juggling act. But I'm obviously very pleased that this £800,000 has been put into the retained service. It is a lot of money and I hope it will help to attract more people into becoming firefighters in their local communities. It is a very rewarding job."

8th March, 2006