This exclusive interview gives you a unique behind-the-scenes look at specialist roles. Find out how the right decisions can lead to a swift climb through the ranks and the chance to experience a completely different side of being a firefighter….
Carl Haslam, founder of www.fireservice.co.uk and seasoned member of the Fire & Rescue Service explains his recent career path and a gives us a snapshot of a very different side of life as a firefighter.
You have a specialist role with the FRS, what can you tell us about it?
After being promoted to a Crew Manager on a station, I was asked to join the Contingency Planning Team at HQ. This Department is important because it reduces regional risks by having plans in place for almost every eventuality. My tasks were really varied, from putting together specialised equipment for specific tasks on specific vehicles to training and testing.
This role saw me move from shifts to permanent days, something that suited me at that time due to the age of my children. I spent 9 months within the team and gained a whole new set of skills and experienced tasks that I would have never experienced on a fire appliance.
How does it compare with being a CM or FF on station?
Totally different. I was able to experience the corporate side of the FRS and see just what happened at HQ. It dispelled the myth that nothing happened there and I soon realised that there was a great deal of work being carried out behind the scenes.
Did you know about all the different roles you could be involved in when you first joined the FRS?
No idea at all. I presumed that the Fire Service was all about being in the back of a fire engine. Don’t get me wrong; this is still one of the most important parts of the fire and rescue service, but equally there is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes as support and back up mechanisms.
Do you enjoy your new role?
Very much, but then in 2013 a position came up as a Flexi duty Station Manager within the National Resilience Team. This was another step up so I applied and was successful. This team is also involved in threat response. I help prove to government that money they have given to FRS’s to ensure they can meet certain demands is being utilised correctly and that equipment and training is being kept on top of. My role involves me purchasing new equipment, training new staff on specialist equipment and writing the procedures to be followed. I travel a lot and most days are very varied. It’s more interesting than I can make it sound here!
How has applying for promotion affected your career?
I have moved on considerably since my initial promotion to Crew Manager and put a lot of this down to the fact that I have been exposed to areas of the FRS that I would not have been if I had stayed as a firefighter on station.
So far I have no regrets on any move I have made and would recommend any move into a new role as both a challenge and a way to move forward.
My new role is only a secondment and I will return to my original role after a couple of years. However, I hope that the experience and qualifications I gain along the way will stand me in good stead in the years to come. Only time will tell.
Thanks for that insight Carl! If you haven’t already checked out his site at www.fireservice.co.uk you must head over there- it’s THE go to info resource and forum for any serving or firefighter hopeful.
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