Matt Smith

My name is Matt, I’ve been in the Service now two months, I’m 28 and I live in Bristol. 

Before the fire service, I worked as a store manager for a telecoms network, so retail, until I was in my mid-20s and I then decided to move abroad. 

I moved to Australia and spent about two years working across different farms. 

Joining the fire service is something I always wanted to do so I always kept tabs on the recruitment updates. 

They were recruiting whilst I was abroad. I applied for it, came back, and luckily enough I got it. 

I took a couple of years when I was 17 and did a course in public services, which is designed to prepare you for the entry exams and just working with people. 

I have done a lot of working with the public, conflict management, and when I was working abroad I got some hands-on experience with heavy machinery. 

The station I’m at in Bath has lots of different equipment, not just your fire engines. We have an animal rescue unit, we have a rescue boat and we’ve got a turntable ladder. 

Every day I turn up to station I’m learning something new. 

My old job was nine to five retail hours, working with the same people; you’re not really challenging or pushing yourself. 

Being thrown into a job like this; you’re saving people’s lives, you’re preventing accidents. There is a lot more responsibility that comes with it. The training and the teamwork aspects are so important. It’s great to have so much responsibility. 

The whole application process, you need to put work into it. It’s not just a case of sitting down and writing it within an hour. It takes a lot of time. 

I was lucky enough to get through and then went to training school which lasted for a couple of months. 

The biggest challenge for me was that it’s not just learning how to put out fires, it’s the whole science, physics and all the other aspects we have to comprehend with. 

Within such a short amount of time, it was really challenging but by far the best thing I’ve ever done. 

I’d say yes you can, you can do it. You do need to be prepared to put the work in, you need to push yourself to your limits physically and mentally. 

There are going to be times when you think it’s not possible but absolutely stick with it. 

Most firefighters will tell you, it’s the best job in the world and it absolutely is. 

 

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I’m Helen Rogers and I’m on Red Watch at Weston-super-Mare. I started back in May last year, that is when I started my training, and before that, I was self-employed as a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist for the last ten years.
Joining Avon Fire & Rescue Service has fulfilled one of my life long ambitions and I can’t wait to get on to station and begin progressing my career.
For anyone thinking of joining the fire service, I would say yes you can. There is no reason why anybody couldn’t join the fire service. It is probably the best thing I have done.