A West Norfolk retained fire station is so short of volunteers that it can’t attend emergency calls.

The Outwell station ideally needs 12 people to make it viable, but at the moment it only has four and one in training.

“I have been putting leaflets through doors around the village and trying to get people to join. We have had some interest, but it can be a slow process” said watch manager Glen Gates.

“We can use the tender with the aboslute minimum of four, but we aren’t attending many call-outs and really need some new faces,” he added.

He said many people who would potentially join the service did not work in the village and all volunteers needed to be within five minutes to respond to calls.

“Many residents don’t even know there is a fire station this close to them,” said Mr Gates, who has been a retained firefighter for eight years.

Drill nights are on Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm and there is no age limit for applicants.

A report to Norfolk County Council this week said that the issue of recruiting retained crews in rural areas could prove difficult.

The fire service has been given a red rating in its risk list for recruiting retained crews.

“A great deal of effort is being put into identifying potential recruits,” the report said.

Emergency cover for Outwell is currently being provided by the crews at Downham Market, West Walton and Wisbech. There is currently a shortfall of 27 retained firefighters around Norfolk.

If anyone would like to join the team at Outwell, contact Mr Gates on  07946 331359 or email glen.gates@fire.norfolk.gov.uk