New recruits at Southwell Fire Station, Aneta Suszczyk and James Armstrong-Clausen.

The team at Southwell Fire Station risk their lives to keep the public safe — and often carry out their roles alongside their ‘day’ jobs.

Two new retained firefighters at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service — Aneta Suszczyk and James Armstrong — have started work at the station, which is hosting a family fun day in July ahead of another recruitment drive.

Aneta, who was born in Poland, has a part-time job at weekends but is on-call for emergency call-outs during the week.

“Back in my country I was in the military so uniform has always been very important for me,” she said.

“The job makes you feel good. There is a level of respect for those in uniform and the emergency services, and it is very rewarding.”

After leaving the military in Poland, Aneta went travelling.

“I wanted to see the world. I went to Australia and Africa and many other countries until I came to England,” she said.

Aneta, of Upton, completed her training in Ollerton in February. 


"Every incident can be different."

“One of the biggest challenges for me was building my strength and I did that by going to the gym,” she said.

“The job can be physically challenging. Every incident can be different, from a container fire to a road traffic collision or rescuing a cat.”

Retained firefighters, who often have another job, are on call for 84 hours of each week and have to respond immediately to a call-out.

They receive several months’ training, including first aid skills, how to use a hose reel, how to climb a ladder safely and what to do during a road traffic collision.

The retained firefighters at Southwell attend further training at the station on Thursday evenings.

Frazer Cross, watch manager, is now hoping to recruit more people to join the team.

Mr Cross said: “Recruits have to live five to eight miles from the station and be over 18.

“We are looking for people who can give us 84 hours, particular covering weekends.

However, we welcome people who can cover weekdays too.

“Retained firefighters are a big part of the team because they are doing the same work as wholetime firefighters and help out with our workload.”

James Armstrong, who runs Lakeside Logs, Southwell, decided to become a retained firefighter after the retained crew attended a blaze at his business.

He said: “In September 2015 the business was mostly destroyed following a fire and the crew were on the scene immediately.

“That inspired me to sign up because I wanted to give something back. I also knew some of the crew because I was born in Southwell.

“My grandfather, Bryan, who was known as Slim to the crew, was a firefighter at this station so there is a nice link there too.

“It is an interesting job and I love the community spirit about it. Retained firefighters also have the chance to gain a first aid qualification.”

The fire station is holding a family fun day on July 1, when there will be a bouncy castle and games for children, a raffle and a tombola.

There will be a chance to look around a police car, watch a road traffic collision demonstration and meet a fire investigation dog.

All proceeds will go towards The Fire Fighters Charity and the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline.

During the day people can also speak to Mr Cross and retained firefighters for more information on how to join.

There will be information about a recruitment drive for retained firefighters later in July.