My Story: Danny Jacobs
My name is Danny Jacobs and I’m a Firefighter on Weston-Super-Mare Green Watch. I joined AF&RS in April 2022 and attended training school before starting on station in August. I’ve really enjoyed working here – my Watch have been so welcoming, and I’ve learnt a lot already.
It’s been a lifelong dream to be a firefighter. I’m from the Netherlands – I moved here in 2017 – and first applied to be a firefighter there when I was 20. I wasn’t successful at that point but after moving to Weston-Super-Mare and seeing that AF&RS were recruiting Wholetime Firefighters on Facebook, I spoke with my family and friends and they encouraged me to apply, and here I am! I like to help people and have done volunteering before, so this career really appeals to me.
Although the recruitment process is long, there’s plenty for you to do in preparation for each stage. There’s so much information on the YesYouCan website and you can reach out to the HR Team if you have any questions. You can also attend a Have a Go Day or visit your local station to acquaint yourself with what to expect when you apply.
I really enjoyed training school and it felt like a “pinch me” moment when I first started – I couldn’t believe my luck. My advice would be to go in with an open mind and be ready to learn. I’ve made friends for life – we still keep in contact with each other.
I was grateful to join Weston-Super-Mare as I live in the town and love the specialist equipment – including the hovercraft – we’re trained to use. Every day and night at Weston Station is different: the bells could go off and you’re on your way to a shout. At the beginning of the day shift, our Watch Manager or Crew Manager will talk us through what we can expect. I could be attending a Home Fire Safety Visit, completing a drill or going along to a community event, plus finding time for the gym and working towards my apprenticeship while I’m in my probation period. It’s also important we make sure checks on all our appliances, equipment and kit are completed at the beginning of each shift, whether that’s day or night.
I did night shifts a long time ago, so I did have some experience of keeping myself awake during the night, but it still took some getting used to this work pattern. I would recommend not drinking too much coffee! I still find getting woken up in the middle of the night, with the bells going off, exhilarating.
I’ve attended a number of incidents, from car fires to bariatric rescues, and have also conducted Home Fire Safety Visits, station visits – including a visit from the Scouts where they got to find out more about what we do and tour the station – and community events. There’s never time to sit still as we always have something to do!
My advice to anyone that wants to be a firefighter is to go for it. Prepare yourself as much as possible, visit your local station and make sure to enjoy the process. If you’re successful, don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer to help colleagues on your Watch once you get to station – it’s the best way to learn. Find out everything you can about your station and the equipment you’ll be using. If you have the right mindset and put the effort in, you’ll get a lot more back.