Name Nicola Bridges

Job Part-time firefighter

Workplace Lyndhurst

So how long have you been with the Service? Two and a half years

As a firefighter, what sort of training have you got involved in?  A wide variety, all of the training that comes with being a firefighter but I have also trained as a fitness instructor through the service and will be running a STEER course which is an exercise class for over 65s at my station. I run a ladies fitness session at Lyndhurst during in the week. I also enjoyed training in water rescue and animal rescue.

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So what part of your job gets you up in the morning? The feeling of not knowing what the day will bring.

Tell us about what you might get up to on a typical day? By trade I am a hairdresser so I work four days a week in a salon. Apart from that I’m an active person and I like to be outdoors. I’m lucky to live in The New Forest and enjoy making the most of that in the evenings by either running, walking or cycling. Time spent with family and friends is valuable. My other hobbies include baking, reading, photography, I often take part in charity events.

How does that work with family life? My family know I like to keep busy, I have no children so I make the most of time.

Obviously, you will have been to many incidents, can you tell us about your most memorable one? My most memorable is getting a horse out of a river in Winchester on a cold dark night in the middle of winter, we thought it wasn’t going to be successful and it was tiring work, I came up with a suggestion, a trick I had learnt the previous week on water rescue. It worked and I felt a massive sense of achievement.

Keeping yourself fit and healthy must be important, what do you do to keep yourself in shape? I go to the gym regularly, I run, walk and cycle. I usually have a charity event booked so it gives me motivation. This year I have succeeded in The Bath half marathon, Southampton half marathon, Race for life 10k and 5k, Eastleigh 10k. I also climbed Mount Kenya in June which was my greatest achievement yet.

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How do you switch off? I’m not much of a TV person, I like to watch a good film to switch off. I also think weekends away are important to have a proper break.
Do you get out much socially as a team? Not as often as we would like as everyone is busy in their own lives. I organise social events at our station including our annual barn dance which Is always a great family evening. We do get together for occasional curry nights.

And finally, what would you say that you are most proud of at work? I am most proud of how far I have come and how much I have learnt. I am proud to have overcome things that I thought I couldn’t. Passing the breathing apparatus course was a great feeling and I couldn’t have done it without such a great team!

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