FROM cutting up cars to carrying equipment, Salisbury residents are testing if they have what it takes to become an on-call firefighter.

Salisbury Journal:

Fire crews will be at Salisbury Fire Station until 8pm tonight, to encourage local people to become on-call firefighters and show them what the job involves.

After getting kitted up in overalls, boots and a helmet, participants can take part in fitness tests, climbing a ladder, simulation activities and more.

And as well as being available to chat with visitors about being an on-call firefighter, the team are on hand to discuss fire safety advice and accept requests for Safe and Well visits.

Salisbury Journal:

"Today is a day to create awareness about what it takes to be an on-call firefighter, an honest insight directly from on-call firefighters. It's very important to apply for the role knowing the practical and basic skills needed," said Vicki Brewis, on-call support officer and organiser of the event.

In order to be on-call, those interested will need to be able to respond to their local fire station in around five minutes of their pager alert, as well as complete the same training as a wholetime firefighter.

Salisbury Journal:

Station manager for Salisbury, Amesbury and Wilton, Matthew Maggs said: "What we're looking at today is showing people who aren't aware the skillsets required for firefighting, and give an understanding of the practical and mental elements of being a firefighter.

"It's a chance to test yourself and if you go away thinking 'I'm not fit enough' you know what to work on and how to pass the next time, which is a brilliant advantage.

"This day shows you the real stuff and what is expected of you. It's not easy but it gives that insight and shows all components of firefighting, including strength and teamwork."

Salisbury Journal:

Byron Standen, assistant chief officer, added: "We want to use this day to redress the fire service, as at the moment it is predominantly white male.

"We want to get in a diverse range of applicants, and this day invites women to see what the job is about and breaks down those barriers.

"We want firefighters to be the people you can relate to."

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service needs new on-call recruits to provide fire cover at locations across Dorset and Wiltshire, but particularly in Salisbury, Wilton, Tisbury, Amesbury, Mere and Ludgershall.

Matt added: "We are really struggling for on-call firefighters during the day, without these people we would suffer."

Salisbury Journal:

The 'have a go' scheme will soon be held once a month to encourage people to learn more about becoming an on-call firefighter.

The next event will be held in Chippenham on September 7.