A company which has actively backed Shropshire’s on call firefighters for the past 25 years has been praised for its support.
Chief Fire Officer John Redmond said Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service relied on businesses such as Ludlow’s DMS Plastics which allowed employees, who are also trained firefighters, to “drop tools” at a moment’s notice to respond to 999 calls.
The firm in Lingen Road, Ludlow, currently has one of its 25 staff , employed as an on call firefighter and five previous firefighter employees over the past 25 years.
James Bond (51), a milling machine programmer, has been a firefighter for the past 14 years. He turns out during the day to deal with fire and rescue incidents with colleagues from Ludlow and at night in Craven Arms, where he lives.
“I just drop everything and run when the alarm call comes in. Someone either completes the job I’m doing or I finish it when I get back. They are a really good employer,” said James, who turns out for an average 80 calls a year.
“Our MD has always said that if he had a fire he would want firefighters to be able to respond quickly.”
DMS Plastics, a leading global manufacturer and supplier in the plastics forming industry, was also praised for allowing crews from fire stations at Ludlow, Craven Arms. Clun and Bishops Castle use the business premises for training.
“We had a breathing apparatus training session recently and they allowed us to use their premises to put artificial smoke into the building to create a more realistic scenario which really helps us to practice our skills,” said James.
"Without the goodwill of employers such as DMS Plastics, our fire and rescue capabilities throughout the rural parts of Shropshire would be in jeopardy, said Mr Redmond.
He presented Mr Draper with a special award to thank the company for its "crucial" support over the past 25 years.
“We are pleased to help and support this valuable service,” said the company’s General Manager Paul Draper, who is also the Ludlow mayor.
More than 300 county firefighters - 80 per cent of the brigade's firefighting force - are on call and live or work within five minutes of their local fire station.
"They all have other jobs in the community and give up their time to regularly train to be highly skilled firefighters ready to protect their communities whenever the call comes through in the day or the middle of the night.
"They get to work the next day even if they have a call out at 3am. I thank them all for their dedication and their employers too. Shropshire cannot do without either of you."
Mr Redmond appealed for more employers to allow staff to become on call recruits across the county. To become an on call firefighter or if you are an employer call brigade HQ on 01743 260200 or visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk for more details about Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.