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firefifghters on a boat

My story: Kirsty Nelmes

My name is Kirsty Nelmes and I’m a firefighter on Bedminster Green Watch. I joined Avon Fire & Rescue Service in January 2022 and have loved every minute so far.

I didn’t always want to be a firefighter; however, I had some basic firefighting training in a previous role as a medic in the Royal Navy and the YesYouCan adverts online piqued my interest. Once I started researching AF&RS and the role, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity for me.

The biggest surprise, which was a happy one, is that Bedminster Station specialises in water/boat and animal rescues. One highlight has been getting in and out of the water at Bristol during all the hot weather this summer.

firefighters on a weir

I’m lucky to live close to Bedminster Station and, during the summer, I enjoyed taking the 30-minute walk through the park to the station. I walk a lot in my spare time too – my two Hungarian vizslas have endless amounts of energy.

A typical day on station consists of personal equipment change over and checks before parade where we are assigned our tasks for the shift ahead. We’ll then do kit checks and routines before breakfast. In the late morning and into the afternoon, the crew may visit a school or complete a Home Fire Safety Visit followed by time in the gym, completing drills and/or doing admin. Finally, we’ll get everything ready to handover to the next watch coming in to do the night shift. Of course, even with the best laid plans, we could be called to numerous shouts throughout the day and not be able to do everything I mentioned above!

My advice to anyone wanting to be a firefighter would be to go for it – this job is one of kind!

My tips would be to do your research – all the information you need is out there – and prepare for each phase of the application fully. I found the recruitment process challenging but making sure I was prepared as I could be definitely helped.

firefighter in front of a fire