Dan Water Rescue Training

Work experience - Dan

Day 1:
On my first day, I was met at HQ reception by Amber who took me through everything I would do over the week, explained the software commonly by the team (which seemed very complicated) and introduced me to the rest of the team.

After a tour of the rest of Fire HQ and meeting the Chief Fire Officer, I looked at the advertising projects going on at the moment, like the water safety campaign, with Louisa which gave me an interesting insight as to how the fire service targets their advertising.

In the afternoon I joined the team for their weekly meeting helping me to understand the way the team interacts and also how each role supports the others. One thing covered in the meeting that I really enjoyed was the consumer profiling which helps the team know the type of people they want to aim their work at.

Day 2:
On day two I met with the rest of the team individually to discuss their role within the Fire Service and what they are currently working on. For example, Mark showed me some of the cool videos that he has worked on, like the 360° videos of all sorts of things done by firefighters.

As well as seeing Mark’s videos, Andy explained his role keeping the websites and the intranet up and running and Harriet had me critiquing the current external website, which I found difficult at first but I soon got the hang of!

After this Liam showed me the 30 different twitter accounts that he and Georgia overlook but which are run by the individual stations, control and (my personal favourite) Jet the firedog.

Liam then gave me the task of drafting some of the Fire Service’s tweets for the #30days30ways campaign raising awareness for different types of emergency, which was very fun but also really challenging as I had to think about how to best convey each message as succinctly as possible.

Day 3:
I spent my third day at control where my day started with me going with Liam to visit the new Technical Fire Safety staff (TFS) where he delivered an ‘Introduction to Corporate Communications’ talk in which he explained all the different roles the team cover, which was a good way for me to test how much I remembered from my first days!

Afterwards, we headed over to the main control building where I spent the rest of my morning listening in on calls and learning about the complex deployment system and how the staff at control know what kind of trucks are needed and how many.

In the afternoon I was given a tour of the assessment rooms where every rank from watch manager to fire chief are tested on their abilities using computerised simulations (basically fancy computer games) and I was shown the huge (gaming) computers needed to run them which are really impressive. 

Day 4:
After arriving on station Liam and I got to join Bedminster fire station’s Red Watch on their water-rescue training day. Once at the water we quickly put on dry suits and helmets before getting the boats into the water.

Out on the water, both Liam and I were trusted several times to drive the boats, both learning to perform a friction lock against a concrete feature on one bank and doing figure of eight movements further out in the river. Then, once we got to the grips with the boats we practised rescuing a buoy and then being rescued ourselves, which was really cool! (Literally as well because my drysuit leaked!)

Day 5:
I started my day at 8:00 with Blue Watch at Temple fire station as they came on shift. First thing I joined the watch for their morning briefing and then learned how to do the checks on a breathing apparatus (BA) set and how the BA board is used at incidents as well as helping to refill the pump truck.

After this, I got to go up in the turntable ladder, which was amazing, and we could see all around Bristol. About 10 minutes after getting down the bells went down and I went with the crew of the P4 truck but we were stood down on the way.

When we got back, after refuelling with a bacon sandwich, I got to take part in a road traffic collision drill where I got to remove the door from a car which feels very cool but also quite strange as the hydraulic cutters bend the car door with very little effort.

Immediately after finishing the drill the alarms went off so we set off again only to be stood down as we came within sight of the incident which is unimaginably frustrating, especially for the fire crews.

In the afternoon I went with the crew of P4 to do a home fire safety visit (which we were unable to perform so more time was wasted) and then we were called to a small fire in Castle Park where a tent had caught fire which made me feel very sad but also incredibly fortunate to be in the position I am in at the moment.

Over the course of the afternoon we were then called to two more false alarms one of which we were given doughnuts in apology for! 

Overall, I think that this has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. I have learned so much about the way the fire service works to protect people 24/7 and how much effort goes into being able to provide this service for everyone.

As well as learning about the fire service I had an incredible week and I enjoyed the whole thing hugely. Having heard about my friends’ work experiences nothing comes close to this and I have come away with a vast amount of knowledge and an even bigger appreciation for what everyone involved with the fire service does for our community.

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at the Corporate Comms team at AF&RS for a brilliant week, all the staff I met at Control for teaching me so much about how the whole service is kept organised, Red Watch at Bedminster for helping me to appreciate the huge variety of tasks the fire service could be asked to do, as well as an awesome day on the water, and Blue Watch at Temple for letting me tag along and see what it’s like to be a fire-fighter for the day (even if it was a bit quiet) as well as giving me a day that I will never forget. 

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