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The Life Of A Fireman In The London Fire Brigade

1139 words - 5 pages

LIFE AS A FIRE FIGHTER IN THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADEBiography of Steven Edwards, Senior Officer, Walthamstow Fire StationSteven Edward's career began, not in the Fire Brigade, but in the Film Industry. He had a great job cutting and editing film, great salary and prospects but no excitement. For years he wanted more than "just a job", he wanted the "thrill factor" to go with it.It was talking to his uncle, a retired Senior Officer commended for bravery and stationed in Harrow, who encouraged and convinced him that he had the makings of being a great fire fighter and that that the way forward. He told him all he needed to know to join the Brigade from applying for the job, training and how his career would develop. He was full of praise for the fire fighters who he considered to be his "extended family" and very proud to be a fire fighter.Newly married at the age of 26 years old in November 1980 he decided to take the plunge and with the support from his wife, he joined the Brigade. He first had to undergo a medical which included physical strength and lung capacity, good vision and hearing. He then spent 18 weeks training which covered theory lessons and practical skills such as searching rooms, working in smoke and using fire-fighting and rescue equipment. At home he was difficult to live with but managed to pass with flying colours whilst others failed to make the grade.He began his career at Soho Fire Station in London and was put to work ventilating fires once they were extinguished. It was a further six months before he was able to assist his colleagues in tackling fires and to eventually get to do what he was trained for.A typical rota for each fire fighter consisted of 2 days working 9am -6pm day shifts, followed by 2 nights working 6pm-9am in the morning which followed by 4 days leave.The duties during the day consisted of: equipment check - especially breathing apparatus and any machinery to be used tea break a list of "to do's" is always in place for each station to carry out on a daily basis which cover each day of the year a list of "monthly tests" which are carried out; and a list of yearly tests, which might be carried out.There is then what is known as a period of "stand easy" which is a break of about 15 minutes at 11am where each officer can talk and discuss anything with their fellow officers.After that time there are numerous Fire Safety visits whereby Fire Officers visit Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes etc. in the Local Community to help in the prevention of fires and promote safety.On duty at Soho Station were 3 engines ready for action at any one time.After lunchtime a series of training schedules and/or lectures would be carried out.By 4pm some officers would then attend the gym. It is the general consensus nowadays that fire fighters are fitter than ever before (this can only be said for this country at least) with the trends changing - encouraging healthy eating and a consistent gym...

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