Broadening my knowledge

As the Christmas season approaches, I find myself getting busier and busier – for my day job, I work as an assistant manager in a grocery store, and I’m also still progressing as a firefighter.

It’s hard to believe that almost six months have passed since I passed out of my training and became a firefighter with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue. In fact, next week is my six month anniversary, and I am still going strong.

I had to take three weeks’ annual leave recently, and on Friday I went to my first shout in six weeks. It was a peat fire, and a big incident.

We were sent as a relief crew, to enable other firefighters who have been there for six hours or more to have a break. And we were there for another six hours before the fire was completely out, so it was a big job.

Not only was it a great way to get back in the swing of things, but because it was a large incident, and a different kind of incident to those I’d been to before – it gave me the opportunity to learn more, as well as use different kinds of equipment than I previously had.

For example, at big fires, the incident is split into sectors, and these are assigned out to the crews. So it was a good exercise in communication and cooperation.

Also, for the first time, I used the TIC, or thermal imaging camera, a piece of heat-seeking equipment that allows firefighters to see where a fire might still be smouldering hidden beneath rubble or debris. It’s important to locate these, because even though the fire may be mostly out, ‘hot spots’ like those that the TIC locates, can flare up again and cause the fire to reignite. I found a hot spot and told the Sector Commander so it could be dealt with as efficiently as possible.

So while my practical, hands-on learning continues, I’ve also begun to concentrate more on completing my Phase II development folder, which builds on the basic training I’ve already got.

This is a process every firefighter must undertake once they’ve finished their basic training, and it must be completed within three years. My Watch Manager is part of the training department anyway, and is really good at pushing us all through, so I have every confidence that it’ll continue to drive my skills forward.

Check back soon to find out how Sarah’s getting on!

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