When it comes to caring for the local community, on-call firefighter Ashley Hunt is an example of someone who has really gone the extra mile.
The 29-year-old not only carries out on-call firefighting duties at Earls Barton and Wellingborough Fire Stations, but he does all of this alongside his other busy role as a manager at Morrison’s Supermarket.
When the first pandemic lockdown happened, Ashley went even further in his duties as an on-call firefighter, by volunteering to take on the extra roles of ambulance driving and pharmacy deliveries to those shielding.
Ashley joined Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) four years ago, having been inspired by two members of his own family.
He said: “My uncle was a wholetime firefighter at Mereway and my dad was an on-call firefighter at Wellingborough. I definitely looked up to them.” Ashley said that some of his earliest memories were of his father responding to calls and it was his care for the community that drove him to follow in his footsteps.
Taking on extra duties during the pandemic was something that seemed a natural step for Ashley.
“I wanted to provide this extra support as I just wanted to do what I could to help people during the pandemic, and I wanted to learn more about joint working, working alongside other organisations such as ambulances and I wanted to help other services. I wanted to become more knowledgeable about what others were doing and how they were supporting the pandemic.”
Ashley appreciated the learning opportunities he was given through working so closely with other organisations as an on-call firefighter. Being able to do something for shielding patients who were so isolated from other people was also something he found rewarding.
He said: “Helping people when they need us and seeing how grateful they are for that help is very rewarding.”
With support from his employers at Morrison’s, balancing supermarket duties with work as an on-call firefighter has been straightforward.
He said: “Balancing my work at Morrison’s has been made easier by the fact I have a very supportive manager and he allows me to support my community. We have been busy with the pandemic, but he has allowed me to stay available as much as I possibly can.”
For anyone thinking about becoming an on-call firefighter, Ashley has some words of advice.
“If you think you would like to support your community by becoming an on-call firefighter, just do it. You are fully trained to attend everything from road traffic collisions to fires and there are few other jobs like it. It is a paid role you can take on alongside another job, but it is rewarding in many other ways too, in the work you are able to carry out to keep people in your community safe.”