As part of the blue light collaboration programme between Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and the county’s police and crime commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, the authority agreed to put together a marketing campaign aimed at recruitment serving PCSOs to double up as retained firefighters.
The campaign would target 2,000 police support staff and promote the opportunity in the hopes of boosting numbers.
Retained firefighters often have another job and they will provide on-call cover from home or their place of work.
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They respond to emergencies when their pager alerts them, so must live or work within five minutes travel time from the station.
Like their full-time colleagues, they are trained to deal with a wide range of situations and incidents – fighting fires can be just a small part of the role.
They are called upon to provide community education and advice on fire safety, but, when they are called to an emergency, they could be dealing with any type of incident, from road, rail or air crashes, to floods, fires, chemical spills or rescuing people trapped in confined spaces.
The idea was first floated in February last year when bosses published a raft of initial collaboration proposals.
They say the benefits would be stronger crews in terms of numbers and better working relationships between police and fire.
And it would enable PCSOs to earn extra cash and provide cover from their home location, should they live near to another retained fire station.