Sian Nortcliffe - Temporary Crew Manager
Being a firefighter
It isn’t just about whizzing around from one fire to the next. In reality we spend a lot of time in the community, talking to people. So being compassionate and caring is a big part of the role.
A typical day at the station would start with the watch standing on parade where everyone is detailed with the jobs they are doing that day, we also carry out equipment checks, practice drills and work on our fitness levels. A lot of our time is spent carrying out operational training at the station so we are fully prepared for when an incident occurs.
The fire service is really open for progression. Once I became a firefighter I spent twelve weeks at the Training School before starting at the station. My first two years in the job were spent training, getting to know my crew and learning all the skills needed to carry out the job. After two years you can continue as a firefighter or, you can choose to progress into other areas.
I’ve recently progressed into the role as Crew Manager which means I’m still out fighting fires, but leading the crew in a more managerial role.
Work life balance
My current shift pattern works really well for me. I have two young children and the shifts allow me to drop them off at school and day care most days of the week. I also get to spend time with my younger child during the day which means I’m enjoying her growing up whilst enjoying the benefits of working.
SYFR also offer flexible working, so if the current shifts conflict with childcare you can apply to work different patterns to better meet your needs.
You have to be quite fit to be a firefighter, both physically and mentally to deal with some challenging situations and be ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you. If you’re looking to pursue a 40 year career in the service you need to be prepared to maintain your fitness throughout this time.
Most people consider firefighters to be big, burly blokes carrying women out of burning buildings but this isn’t the case. Yes, we all are quite strong individuals but we have a really strong group of female firefighters in the service. If anyone is considering a career in the fire service but think that fitness is an issue for them, I would encourage anyone to give it a go as anyone can be fit enough.