The biggest firefighter recruitment drive for five years in Northamptonshire has started today (Wednesday, October 2).
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to recruit 32 full-time firefighters with 20 of those to replace those who leave or retire.
Five new fire engines and two water rescue vehicles will also be purchased to replace some of the older fleet.
Chief fire officer Darren Dovey said: “At Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service we pride ourselves in working as hard as possible, with the resources available to us, to keep the people in this county safe.
"This extra investment in more firefighters and vehicles is very welcome in helping us become even more resilient and to strengthen the support we give to the community in dealing with emergencies, as well as preventing them.”
The spending spree comes after a significant period when whole time firefighter recruitment was frozen because of financial constraints under the governance of Northamptonshire County Council.
But the fire service is now under the control of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, meaning its portion of council tax is ring-fenced.
Mr Dovey and his team now have full control of fire service resources and are able to create a capital investment programme and plan for the future, a spokesman said.
Police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold said: “This really is an exciting time, with a fresh start for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
"Working with the chief fire officer, we are able to plan for the future and supported NFRS to make that a reality.
"The fire service has come a long way in a short time and I am pleased that I can support investment that lets the service make the next step and makes the county safer.”
To become a firefighter, applicants need to have composure and understanding. They may need to react quickly in a crisis, or communicate vital information with clarity.
In return, those who are accepted will receive a highly competitive salary and benefits package, backed by excellent career development and promotion opportunities, a spokesman said.
Natasha Dorrill has been a firefighter for 18 years, with most of those spent in Northamptonshire, and encouraged anyone with a passion for helping people to apply.
"Especially as a woman, if you're worried about having babies and your fitness, we've got a lot of people who are here to help you," she said.
"So if that's something you decide to do then go for it - it's not something to put you on the backburner.
Applicants need to be 18-years-old by December 31, 2019, live in Northamptonshire, have a full driving licence, and be eligible to work in the UK.
More information about how to apply and about the recruitment process is available from www.northantsfire.gov.uk