APPLICATIONS for people who want to become firefighters will be accepted by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service from Monday.

The service hopes that new appointments will ensure the service is more diverse, after figures showed there were just three people – 0.6 per cent of its 530 operational firefighters – from ethnic minorities.

It also had just 32 women firefighters, which means 94 per cent of firefighters are men.

Simon Furlong, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, said on being appointed earlier this year that his priority was to make it more reflective of the population it represents.

He said: “What our firefighters all have in common is self-reliance, confidence, respect, enthusiasm, team spirit and a willingness to be ready for anything when they are alerted to an emergency. I would like to encourage anyone who thinks they could be our future to apply.”

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, cabinet member for the fire service at Oxfordshire County Council, added: “The work undertaken by our firefighters in engaging with both the young and old people in our communities is a great example of where as a County Council we are working together to help make Oxfordshire a safer place for all our residents.”

Anyone who wants to see whether they could cut it in the fire service is urged to apply online from Monday at 9am. applications close at 5pm on Thursday, January 11.

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