Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (OFRS)
OFRS is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Community Safety Directorate. Within the Community Safety Directorate we are passionate about delivering top quality Customer Service. That is why we have made it one of our Directorate's main priorities. Delivering excellent Customer Service benefits us as individuals, our organisation and our Customers. We also know that we need to continually adjust and improve our levels of Customer Service because we need to meet the changing needs and expectations of our customers.
DEDDINGTON FIRE STATION (A8)
Station Area & Call Outs
Deddington Station serves an area of 120 square miles, the patch extends from Rousham Gap in the South, to Adderbury in the north, and from Baynards Green across to the A361 Chipping Norton Road. In addition to covering this patch our crew regularly provides back up support to Banbury and Bicester stations, and occasionally further afield when there is a major incident, such as extensive flooding. Deddington handles an average of 180-220 calls per year. These include house fires, barn and field fires, shop and factory fires, flooding, rescues and road traffic accidents.
Retained Duty System Firefighters - On Call Professionals
Deddington Fire Station is crewed by firefighters on the Retained Duty System. They carry alerters, activated by a control centre at Kidlington Headquarters. Any time of day or night, the crew may be called upon to turn out rapidly in response to an emergency. An important requirement is that they are able to respond to the fire station within seven minutes. The role of firefighter is exciting and rewarding. Every shout is different; you never know what to expect. There is great camaraderie between the crew members; they work together as a team. Our firefighters can be called in from home or from work. One moment they may be at home fast asleep, then the alerter sounds, the next moment they are on station, in fire kit, climbing onto the fire engine. There is a great adrenaline surge as the appliance leaves the station, with blue lights flashing and two tones on, the crew not knowing what situation they may be about to encounter, initial information is often sketchy. No two shouts are ever the same.
Community Fire Safety
A major part of every Oxfordshire County Council firefighter’s role is to participate in making our communities safer as part of the 365alive vision that we have developed. This can include speaking to vulnerable groups, giving presentations to schoolchildren, carrying out home fire risk assessments and fitting smoke detectors. Deddington's firefighters are very much part of village life, frequently giving up their own time to attend fetes, family days and supporting local initiatives. Our firefighters are active fundraisers for local and national charities, such as Children in Need and the Firefighters Charity.
Our charity car wash day is always popular, as is the "999 Challenge", Row the Channel competition between the Police, Health Centre, Vets and Fire Crew. It has become an annual event (and a seriously fierce competition) in the Market Place each April, raising money for the British Heart Foundation and other charities. The social aspect of being a member of the fire crew is a very important part of the job, the crew arrange an annual family BBQ and camp at a temporary campsite in Clifton, in addition to various Quiz nights and Race nights and family days.
Crewing Levels - New Recruits Needed!
Ensuring that the fire engine is available 24/7, 365 days per year can be a struggle at times, especially during holidays and when the crew have busy work periods. A total of 12 crew members would allow greater flexibility for all the team, and fewer hours of commitment would be required from each person.
Recruiting RDS firefighters is a challenge for many stations. There are various causes for this. There are not many employers in the villages, farms employ fewer people, local residents tend to work outside the area, many commuting great distances, some only living in the village at weekends.
In the current economic climate, with heightened financial pressures and competitive marketplaces, employers are not always able to release their staff. The burden on the employer is unpredictable and erratic. The station statistics can show averages, such as how many calls per year, how many during the working day and the length of an average call. The fire service management recognise this is an issue and will offer reassurances to employers where possible, such as greater flexibility with contracted hours or an “opt out” during peak busy periods for their business. Whilst out on a shout the incident commander has the prerogative to organise a relief for a particular crew or individual where required, so if a firefighter needs to get back to work by a certain time, it can be arranged.
Several members of the crew at Deddington are self employed. The job of an RDS firefighter can fit in well for people working from home or running their own business. Being a firefighter provides the opportunity to experience a whole new environment, to mix with other people, to be part of a team and to learn new skills, as well as earning additional income.
There are women firefighters at Deddington; all will tell you what a fantastic job it is, rewarding, challenging and enjoyable. Women often hesitate to put themselves forward, thinking "I won't be strong enough" or "its a man's job." Well, you don't know until you try it. You do not have to be an Olympic athlete to be a firefighter, you do have to be reasonably fit and be prepared to undertake additional fitness training if required. Fitness assessments are carried out, and if there are areas that need work you will be given guidance on how to improve and to reach the required level.
Could you become a retained firefighter?
The contracted hours that you agree to provide can be adapted to suit your lifestyle and commitments. If you work locally, you may be able to offer day cover, if you work away from the village you may consider some night and weekend cover whilst you are at home. The contract does not have to be full cover, the Service is flexible, if you have a varied shift pattern, if the time you have available has to fit around a school timetable, family arrangements or other work commitments, it is still possible. Work-life balance is important to us all, and everyone needs some free time, we ensure this is taken into account when agreeing contracted hours. The recruitment hotline is 0800 5 870 870.
“Have a Go" Days
From time to time Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service holds open days or awareness raising days. At these events members of the public are invited to attend and learn more about the role of the firefighter, what it means to work on the different duty systems, wholetime and retained, have a go at the various selection tests, learn about the selection process, get some fitness training advice and meet serving firefighters.
Deddington had a very successful open day in October 2008 attended by 40 people, men and women, including many representatives of the Polish community. Feedback from the day was excellent, all participants thoroughly enjoyed the day and benefitted from the experience. Kidlington station will be hosting the next event.. Check out Oxfordshire’s web site to see if there are any more “Have a Go” days planned.
All of our crews are highly trained in order to fulfil the demanding role and diverse nature of the incidents they attend. This training is delivered in many ways including lectures, DVDs, practical training, and area or brigade exercises. Initially firefighters attend our training centre for two weeks in order to learn the basic skills and following this they attend two weekends of training to cover; pumps, ladders, hydraulic cutting gear and chemical incidents. RDS crews drill every Tuesday night for two hours and run through many different skills such as; pumps, ladders, hydraulic cutting gear, chemical hazards, working at heights, working in/near water, first aid, railway incidents and many more topics.
Contacts and Links
If you are interested in joining us, please take a look at Oxfordshire County Council’s website
or call the recruitment hotline on 0800 5 870 870
or pop in on a Tuesday between 6.30-7pm and speak to our crew.
If you’d like to make an appointment, the station telephone number is 01869 338 281
Other useful links:
Fire and Resilience
Networking Women in the Fire Service
or email directly email@example.com
The History of Deddington Fire Station and Its Crew
There has been a fire station in the village since 1900. The original site of the station was at Goose Green, where they had a manual pump. It was later moved and the pump was then kept under the town hall. The third site was in Earls Lane, at this time the pump was a coal driven steamer, towed by horses. Since about 1930 the fire engine has been motorised. In 1952 the station moved to it's present site in Banbury Road, the fire engine was then an ATV box van which towed a trailer pump with a hose reel. There are some historic photos in the Gallery.
Deddington was proud to be the first station in Oxfordshire to take on a woman firefighter in 1987, Carol Shirley. Oxfordshire now has many women firefighters, and the number is increasing.
In November 2001, Sub Officer Humphries retired. Following in his father's footsteps, Albert joined the fire service in 1968 and in 1982 he took over as Officer In Charge of the station, a post he held until his retirement. It was a great loss to the station when Albert retired, the indomitable character, the wealth of experience and incredible local knowledge, are all sadly missed. Albert was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List 2002.
There have been a good few others who gave many years of service at the Fire Station, in particular the local butcher, Dick Powell served for 35 years, and farmer Brian Fuller gave 30 years service.
Deddington was the first station in the county to have a woman in charge, Anne Waters took over as Sub Officer in May 2002, following Albert's retirement. She has retired herself but went on to be active with Networking Women in the Fire Service.
Anne was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List 2007.