#BeTheDifference: Cork town launches community firefighter campaign

Ballincollig fire station is now dealing with around 250 callouts per year, despite not being a full-time station, and the local authority has said it wants to train a new generation of brave men and women to serve their communities.
#BeTheDifference: Cork town launches community firefighter campaign

Station officer Mark Bernardi along with firefighters David Healy and Colin Weste, part of the retained firefighting service based in Ballincollig. Picture: Clare Keogh

A rapidly growing Cork town — still affectionately known as The Village due to its origins — is launching a recruitment campaign to mold local people into community firefighters.

Ballincollig fire station is now dealing with around 250 callouts per year, despite not being a full-time station, and the local authority has said it wants to train a new generation of brave men and women to serve their communities.

Cork City Council said the campaign would see people from their community trained to quickly respond to emergency incidents in their own area.

The station is operational 24/7 and responds to approximately 250 call-outs per year, according to the council.

Ballincollig and the surrounding areas have become among the most sought-after to live in Cork, with high-quality industries, schools and local amenities seen as attractions to young families.

The so-called “village feel” of Ballincollig has long been seen as one of its biggest appeals, meaning thousands of people who grew up there staying long into adulthood.

Coupled with an influx of newcomers, The Village has grown massively over the past two decades.

The recruitment of community firefighters is yet another way people can immerse themselves in local life, firefighting chiefs said.

Chief fire officer for Cork City Fire Brigade, John Ryan, said: “Ballincollig is an area of rapid growth, and we are committed to ensuring the best possible service to meet the needs of that growing community. Our retained firefighters benefit from extensive training.

“There are people who live and work in Ballincollig who are perfectly suited to a role of this nature. Likewise, the circumstances of others may have changed, and they may be looking for a new challenge. Either way, there are people in Ballincollig who can be the difference with Cork City Fire Brigade, and we invite them to apply for these roles."

The recruitment drive is part of Cork City Fire Brigade’s #BeTheDifference initiative, which seeks to recruit those committed to giving back to their community.

Applicants for the retained service must fulfil a number of qualifying criteria, including being able to respond to calls within a designated time by living and working within 3kms of the fire station; aged between 18 and 55; and completion of a series of fitness and suitability assessments.

Full training will be given to the successful candidates, and the roles are paid.

These roles are suited to people who live and work within the catchment area of Ballincollig fire station, who are looking for a new focus, and the roles may also appeal to people who are moving to The Village as it expands, firefighting and council officials said.

Station officer Mark Bernardi along with firefighters Colin Weste and David Healy. Ballincollig fire station is now dealing with around 250 callouts per year, despite not being a full-time station. Picture: Clare Keogh
Station officer Mark Bernardi along with firefighters Colin Weste and David Healy. Ballincollig fire station is now dealing with around 250 callouts per year, despite not being a full-time station. Picture: Clare Keogh

The retained fire service in Ballincollig has huge support amongst the local community, according to local business owners.

Emer Cassidy from the Ballincollig Business Association said: “We are indebted to those already involved in the retained service, as they are the first line of defence against the worst-case scenarios that homes, businesses and the community will face. 

"We actively encourage people living in Ballincollig to consider applying for these new roles. There is no greater expression of community spirit than making sure that your community is safe.” 

Expressions of interest in the role of Retained Firefighter at Ballincollig Fire Station should be submitted to the People & Organisation Development Directorate of Cork City Council from October 30 for a period of three weeks.

Full details on the role and the qualifying criteria can be found at www.corkcity.ie/recruitment.

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