It was really a combination of factors as to why I joined the fire service. I wanted to use the skills I had already developed already from being a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, but also wanting to do a more practical role, something that was a bit more challenging, something that had a lot of variation.
The fire service really brought all of those things together.
I think some of those softer skills are going to be useful perhaps when dealing with people during home fire safety visits, working with people with mental health difficulties, talking to people in difficult circumstances. I think my background will help with that.
There is a whole array of things I hadn’t imagined using, a lot of very practical stuff. I was aware of some of it before I started but there was a whole load more we learnt during training school from putting ladders up to learning how to operate the pump, supplying water, breathing apparatus, learning different knots, how to work safety from height. I love the variation.
I love being part of a team. The team here are absolutely brilliant. They were quite well established when I joined but they have accepted me in and there is great camaraderie here, so I really enjoy that side of it.
And the fact you don’t really know from one day to the next what you are going to be doing. You come in in the morning and you have no idea what the day is going to hold.
I think I am seeing my children a little bit more than I did before. Being self-employed, you tend to be working all the time, whereas I get some time off as a firefighter. The hours for me work quite well around them, so I get to spend quite a lot of time with them.
I think with family and friends I would be lying if I said there wasn’t any worry. I think there is a little bit there but on the whole, everyone has been really excited for me.
The children think it is brilliant; that is one of the things that I was keen to do the role for, is to be a role model for them. One of my daughters is keen on following a similar path now so I am really pleased about that.
Most people thought this was the most obvious choice for me. Where I have done some weight lifting and lot of practical stuff previously, I think they just thought I would be putting that to good use really.
Being physically fit is quite an import part of the role, certainly for the fitness tests and strength tests. For me, that background in weightlifting proved really useful so I didn’t really struggle so much with that part of it.
Obviously, being quite strong for some of the daily things we're doing is really useful. Likewise, the background in mental health stuff, there is a lot you can apply to the role.
When I was doing the interview process, I brought a lot of that into it.
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And I would say start right now. There’s no time that is too soon to start with the fitness and strength side of things.
Make sure you are doing the training so when you turn up and do those parts of the tests that you are going to be able to it and you won’t have to worry if you have done work beforehand.