Sarah Allen

I’m the fire service delivery manager for Bristol and North Somerset.  I’m responsible for managing the prevention, the protection and the response of the fire service within the Bristol and North Somerset areas which covers a whole range of things from making sure we’re out there educating the public about how to be safer, making sure we’re looking at risks and planning for them and then making sure that our staff are fully trained and competent and our equipment is ready to go if the bells are to go and we need to respond to an incident.

I’ve been in the fire service for 20 years now and during the course of those years I’ve probably had six or seven different careers. There are amazing opportunities if you are prepared to put the work in and be flexible. I’ve been able to work on operational fire stations, I’ve also worked in a training environment, I’ve worked with risk reduction, working with children and education and young people and now I manage a large number of people and fire stations and get involved in all manner of projects.

It’s a really, really varied career with loads of opportunities to develop personally and play an important role in the community.

Overall I love being a public servant. I love the fact that when I come into work I can really impact on people’s lives and make communities safer and also influence how other people develop within their own careers.

I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t realise what a modern fire service looks like. It requires a different range of skills, which a lot of people have, but probably never considered.  It’s appropriate to men and women, from all different types of background. There are certain skills that you need to develop in the career but I don’t think there are any limitations any longer on who might potentially be suitable for the role.

I think if you have any interest at all in being a public servant or building a really, really great career over long term with an organisation like the fire service you should just go and ask some questions. Find out what they’re doing, engage with the social media and the publicity that we’re putting out and maybe drop in at a fire station or one of our taster days to find out exactly what it’s all about. Ask people questions and I’m sure that will do the trick and make you want to apply.

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