Returning to frontline response just down the road

A proud firefighter has revealed how he returned to frontline response to keep his local community fire station going during tough times.

Watch Manager Andrew Lane has been a firefighter for almost 30 years, starting his career in London before joining Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and re-locating to the North East.

He spent the majority of his career tackling fires and rescuing the public on the front line but in recent years worked at the TWFRS headquarters.

But the 47-year-old was missing life on the trucks and so decided to spend his spare time working as an on-call firefighter in Chopwell.

Andrew has been part of TWFRS for 20 years now and is so thrilled he can now help the next generation forge their careers in the fire service as on-call firefighters.

He said, “It was a big change to come and be the on-call Watch Manager here at Chopwell, it’s great because it’s just down the road for me and is a vital asset for the local community.

“We have this great opportunity to expand the team and breath a bit of new life on the station – the community are going to be thrilled that there is more of us to help.

“The dynamic is different when you are on-call; every one pitches in and covers what they can because they know how much it means to the people of the villages.

“Many of them have grown up here and everyone knows everyone, so it’s important that the people who are putting themselves in harm’s way understand the importance of the community in this role.”

Andrew, original from Romford, joined London Fire Brigade (LFB) back in 1995, but soon moved North for love.

He had a chance meeting with Nurse Amanda whilst he was on a course at TWFRS headquarters and he could not stay away.

He transferred to TWFRS to be with Amanda, has since started a family in the North East, and has no plans to move away.

Today (Wednesday), Chopwell Community Fire Station’s Station Manager is calling on more people from the surrounding area to follow in Andy’ footsteps.

Station Manager Jon Anderson of TWFRS said, “Chopwell Community Fire Station is a really integral part of the community in this part of Gateshead – so now is the time we need the community’s help.

“This is your chance to really make a difference to those who live around you and make your area safer.

“We need people who have great communication skills and are flexible when it comes to their time, on-call firefighters still have flexibility and freedom in their roles.

“We want people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and all shapes and sizes to be our everyday heroes.

“Come along to our open evening, speak to myself and the firefighters and find out for yourself what a rewarding opportunity it could be.”

On-call firefighters work part time for TWFRS, usually around their day job.

They are trained to the same high standards as whole time firefighters; however, they are only called to the station when they are needed to respond to an emergency.

You need to live within 8 minutes of Chopwell Community Fire Station, you must be 18 years old and you must have flexibility in your work and home life to be able to apply.

Visit TWFRS website to find out more about the role and how to apply