Fire service sounds alarm over recruitment problems

Limerick Fire Service has sounded the alarm over problems recruiting firefighters for some of its stations in the county.

City and County Council Director of Regional Services, Caroline Curley, has said they have had difficulties in recruiting part-time or ‘retainer’ staff.

There are six retainer fire stations in Limerick, Ms Curley said that while there were not enough incidents to justify a full time service in every area, certain factors had to be taken into consideration in recruiting retainer staff.

The distance from a firefighter’s home to the fire station influences their suitability for the job.

“You have to be able to work and live within two miles of the fire station to be able to drop whatever you’re doing and get there as quickly as you can,” Ms Curley explained.

Ms Curley added that the nature of the job for retainer staff is different to that of the full-time firefighters who “come and do their 40 hours and they go home.”

“They may or may not be called in for overtime. That’s their week done and dusted,” she said.

“With the retained guys, you never know when you’re going to be called upon. It could be nine o’clock in the morning or nine o’clock at night,” she continued.

She explained that there is sometimes difficulty trying to recruit retained fire fighters.

“You have to have a definite commitment and flexibility in the rest of your life that you can drop whatever you’re doing to run and answer the fire call,” she said.

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