ASPIRING firefighters got a taste of what it’s like to save lives at an on-call firefighter recruitment day at Swindon fire station.

The ‘have a go’ event at the station on Drove Road invited people to try their hand at using a hydraulic cutter to rip apart a car, scale a two-story high ladder, and test their sense of direction in a dark smoke-filled house while wearing breathing apparatus.

On-call firefighters work shifts amounting to 120 hours per week and make up two thirds of firefighters on duty, responding to calls by carrying a beeper at home or work to respond to emergencies

Paul Howell, on-call support officer at Drove Road, told the Adver how the day went and what its like being an on-call officer.

“We had a queue of people before we opened the doors," he said.

“No two calls are the same. That variety is really what its about; being able to make a difference to people is really rewarding for the people that do it.

“Recruits are ordinary people giving up their spare time at the drop of a hat. For them it’s good chance to get out and help the community in which they live.

Paul told the Adver there is no upper age limit, recruits just have to be over 18 and be fit and in good health.

Donning protective overalls and hard hat for the morning was Danny Shepherd, from Wroughton. He told the Aver: “I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was good fun. I didn’t know what to expect, the most exciting part was the road traffic collision and cutting the door off a car, who wouldn’t love doing that.

“I like the idea of helping people when they need it, and I like the thrill of it, it’s something a bit dangerous.”

Advising recruits on what it’s like to be on-call was Daryl Moran, who started as a volunteer three years ago and moved into being on-call in March.

“I always wanted to join full-time but other commitments stopped me doing it,” he said.

“Just knowing that we can turn up to help people, that for me was incredible and it really helped confidence wise.

"Everyone is really supportive, and a lot of jobs you don’t get that.

“Every time the alarm goes, whenever your going out in the truck, your going out because someone needs your help.”

On-call firefighters undergo 1 weeks basic training in Devizes before they can qualify and undergo further breathing apparatus training and using hydraulic cutters in real-life situations.