MALMESBURY fire station has launched an urgent recruitment drive, as low crewing levels mean that its own fire engine is sometimes unable to attend incidents in the town.

Staff held a recruitment event on Tuesday evening where aspiring firefighters were invited to look around the station and have a go with some of the equipment.

Watch manager Chris Harvey explained: “We want to try and achieve adequate crewing levels to maximise pump availability within the town because there are times when the vehicle is unavailable due to crewing levels.

“There are times when we’ve had chimney fires in Malmesbury and people can see the van says ‘Tetbury’ on it.

“Sometimes it’s because there is a big incident somewhere else and we are already mobilised, then there’s no cover in Malmesbury.”

Potential recruits were put through their paces on Tuesday, participating in simulation exercises including running with the hose, carrying a dummy and learning how to use the powerful cutters used to get casualties out of road traffic collisions.

“We’ve had a successful recruitment evening”, continued Chris.

“We maintain as much cover as we can, the more firefighters we can get on station, the more flexibility we’ve got as a crew instead of the guys feeling overstretched, giving more and more hours to keep the truck on the run.

“For instance over Christmas I was the only one in charge available which meant I was on call 24/7 for more than a week.”

Chris, who also works full time as a cloud infrastructure engineer at Dyson, praised the support his employers give the station and asked women who are interested in becoming firefighters to get in touch too.

“Nearly all of the day crew are from Dyson, the support they give the fire service in Malmesbury is fantastic”, he said.

“There’s definitely a lot more women in the service and I’d encourage any woman to come down and have a go. Providing they can pass the fitness test and do the activities required, it would be as rewarding for them as it would for any man.

“Whether it is flooding, a chimney fire or a road traffic collision you’re always trying to make a difference and help somebody.”

Ryan Smith, 24, who also works at Dyson, has been a firefighter for two years and encouraged people to sign up.

“We cover the station on a retained basis, responding to pagers,” he said.

“I cover day, night and weekends. I work at Dyson during the day and they allow me to respond. Yesterday we had a domestic fire just down the road and I responded from work at lunchtime, it’s quite common.

“The nature of the job you see some nasty scenes and deal with some stressful situations but everything we do we try to have a positive impact on somebody’s life.”

Tuesday night’s recruitment event was a success, with 11 people turning up but the station is still asking for more potential on call firefighters to come forward.

“The easiest way to see if being a firefighter is for you is to visit the fire station, have a chat with the crew and try your hand at different things”, said Chris.

“On-call firefighters receive the same training and development as wholetime colleagues, and we can be called to all manner of emergencies.”

If you are interested in being a firefighter in Malmesbury, you can call into the station on any Monday evening or get more information from