My name is Becks and I’m a firefighter on red watch at Redbridge Fire Station.
I’ve been a firefighter for 10 ½ years, but that’s only half the story. I am proud to be one of the Fitness Training Instructors at the station and enjoy helping colleagues achieve the health and fitness standards for the job. This could be writing them a fitness training programme to providing nutrition advice to improve performance. It’s really important that we maintain our health and fitness as we are on the go a lot.
Some of our training is a little more unusual than you might expect. A couple of years ago Redbridge became a water rescue station and the training for this – water rescue level 2 – was so much fun and certainly a little cooler than our live fire training!! …Dry suit and floatation device wading up river and getting swept down river… seriously, I could do that all day!!!
I love the practical side of my job. Anything physical really; crawling around tunnels, climbing walls, using all the cutting gear to take apart vehicles. I really love to get stuck in and show everyone else how it’s done. And it’s not all training, the most rewarding part of the role is putting all that training into practice where I am able to individually, or as part of a team, make a difference to someone or something.
I’ve recently been involved in a few projects at headquarters which is certainly different than being part of a watch. I’ve got involved in things like improving procedures at incidents, mental health and welfare projects as well as working on the recent recruitment drive for our next intake of firefighters. It’s good to be able see what goes on in other departments as we are all part of one big team.
When I am not on watch getting stuck into the training, I enjoy group exercise classes such as Body Pump and RPM at the gym. I also follow an individual strength training programme of my own and I enjoy swimming when I get the time. It’s hard some days to switch off, but I find taking my dog out on a long walk near the water usually works.
I’m proud of the close relationships, almost like a family, that we have on the watch. It helps knowing that we have each other’s backs so when I’ve hit some huge obstacles and found myself in ‘worst case scenario’ situations I have been able to get up and keep moving forward.
We go out socially as a watch and try to get out every few months, sometimes it’s a night out, sometimes a day out, sometimes it’s both!! Pubs, BBQ’s, clay pigeon shooting, quad biking, stag nights (yes I get an invite!), weddings, birthdays, retirements!! All the usual things really.
I’d definitely recommend being a firefighter as a career – there’s nothing quite like it, and you just never know where it might take you next….!