You’ve just passed out from training school, you have your new kit under your arm and have just been given your posting. You’re on top of the world.
For many this is a dream come true, years of hard work and failed attempts and you’re finally a Firefighter
The next part can be daunting for any new Firefighter, introducing yourself to your watch. I still remember doing this. The majority of watches now are fairly small with job cuts etc, but I met my 15 strong watch one summer evening back in 2005.
“I remember thinking make a good impression!”
You now spend the next two years under the spotlight, every little thing that you do will be watched and critiqued. This can be enough stress for some people; to push you to the limit.
You have to have a certain personality and temperament to cope with this, this is where a lot of firefighters fall down. I know during my probation I struggled, I had come from a very macho sporty background, but the banter was constant. Times have changed a bit now but that constant pressure to impress is still there.
Only after 2/3 years do you truly start finding your feet and becoming more confident as a firefighter and the pressure of getting everything right all the time wears off. You begin to gain more respect from your watch, and this can give you a massive boost.
It’s not only about being a new Firefighter that can put pressure on the individual. New Firefighter’s sometimes struggle with getting into shifts and working nights, especially if they have come from a 9-5 background.
Losing your weekends and your evenings can be demoralising for a new individual.
One of the biggest things that I struggled with was seeing the devastation, the loss of life and the effects on people’s lives. It took me a long time to get used to all of this and detach myself from getting involved with people’s lives.
Sometimes you need to ask for help, whether it be struggles with the watch, the job or the devastation.
“As hard as it can seem in the early days, colleagues are always willing to help and offer advice.”