My name is Gregory Streete and I joined the fire service in January 2018. Before I was playing professional basketball for the Bristol Flyers and I was also doing community coaching, youth programs and also mentoring as well.
The main appeal for me, to begin with, was the teamwork being able to rely on my colleagues and them to be able to rely on me - it's very similar to a sporting environment.
As I started to learn more about the fire service and found out about all the community work that we do that really appealed to me because of my background in mentoring and also coaching in the community.
Basketball is probably a lot easier than the fire service in terms of pressure but it's definitely along those lines. I mean you have a responsibility and there are people depending on you.
It's just up with the fire service there's a lot more on the line so in terms of my training I take it a lot more seriously because you know it's not just a game.
Playing basketball you kind of you have a script - you know what you need to do in terms of by the book and then you kind of make it up as you go along. The fire service definitely has a similar attribute to it.
You know you have the drills and the procedures that you're meant to do but then there's also the practical firemanship that I'm learning for my colleagues here as well about there are certain ways to do things maybe might go outside the book but at the same time get a really good result. It's just about balancing practical firemanship with by the book as well. So I've definitely picked up a lot of skills.
I felt like going back to school with some of the algorithms and the philosophy and chemistry of fire and things. It's definitely interesting and I felt that the more that I learned in training school the better I was prepared for when I came onto station.
It's definitely all about you know the amount of effort or work that you put in through your development that really pays off in the career so I'm definitely trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible through my probation to really help out for the rest of my career.
I knew that there was a lot of people applying and I knew my chances were slim but I just always tried to put myself in the best possible position whether it was going out for runs every day making sure that my cardio was up together; push-ups and sit-ups in the living room making sure that my body was kept up together.
And there are also things like you know making sure that I was paying attention to detail with my application form and that set me up for my English and Maths exam.
But, to be honest, other than dealing with the nerves which was the main thing, it was just being prepared. I definitely got out what I put in.
At first, I was scared, I was worried about coming on to station meeting new people. Wanting them to like me abe be accepted I was eager to show how well I could perform and how eager I was.
Now, it is literally like my second family I mean they do so much for me and I try and do as much for them as possible.
I know if I've got any questions or any queries or anything I need to ask I could just ask someone out they'll always give me the time of day. And that's not just this station too - any stations I've gone to another, personnel, managers and staff that I've met they've always given me the time of day.
It really makes my nerves set at ease and I feel like I'm a better firefighter because of it.
At first, I was quite worried about things like the hazmat side of things just because I haven't got any sort of background with like chemicals and things like that before in the past.
But the more lectures that we do and if I have any queries I talk to my colleagues and they're more than happy to help me out. I spent some time up a Patchway with their DIM unit to have a look around that.
You find confidence in your knowledge and the more that I learned the more I ask, the more confident I get. So yeah that was one thing I was a little bit more concerned about. But over the weeks and over the shifts I do I'm learning more.
Yes you can I guess - it's one of the things I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever be a firefighter but you pick up so many things in life that can contribute to this career that you maybe don't even understand or maybe don't even know. Put yourself out there - you get out when you put in. Try your best and hopefully you can succeed.