What does your job involve?
I work in the Transport Department at NIFRS Headquarters in Lisburn as a Transport Engineer. I am responsible for overseeing all maintenance, servicing and repairs to the entire NIFRS fleet of Fire Appliances and other vehicles, which totals about 350.† Iím also responsible for supervising and managing the work of 18 members of staff within the Transport Department.††
Outline a typical day?
My typical day starts at 7.30 am. The first thing I do when arriving at the Lisburn workshops is to contact all the mobile mechanics who work from home and plan and agree with them, their servicing and running repairs for that particular day.† This usually takes me up to 8.00 am†by which time the shop floor mechanics are in.† I then establish with them work due and prioritise what is to be done.†
Occasionally we have vehicle defects reported through our Regional Control Centre from the Fire Stations and I action these on a priority scale depending on the nature of the defect.† We also have a service schedule which I ensure is met daily to coincide with the Chief Fire Officers Association best practice fire service H.G.V inspection manual.
I also deal with the external contractors that we use for fabricating, repairs, modifications, warranty claims and vehicle body repairs and occasionally during the week I need to meet with them.
During the day I also liaise with the Transport Servicing Manager to keep updated on any new workload priorities that can arise during the day.
Invariably I spend a proportion of my day catching up on business related emails and phone calls.† One of the nicest things about my job is that I come into contact with a lot of†people from across the organisation and I spend a considerable amount of time having formal and informal meetings with people on the many different aspects of my job.†
Other aspects of my job include Human Resources issues for the 18 staff such as holiday planning, time sheets, overtime, job card updates and managing 24/7 standby rota etc, which also takes up a lot of my time.
The Transport Department also works closely with the Technical Department on new technology and future development, which is an aspect of the job I find very interesting.
It is also necessary for me to keep updated with vehicle legislation and transport association management news.
What do you enjoy most about being Transport Engineer?
The daily routine of†my job is very enjoyable as I am always dealing with people.† I enjoy the personal contact with the rest of the transport team and of course the other departments within NIFRS. I also enjoy working with the outside contractors†in getting the job done.
I enjoy the daily challenge faced by the Transport Department.† Even though we work behind the scenes, Transport Dept is vital for maintaining†the entire fleet (approximately 350 vehicles) to a very high standard and enabling Firefighters to respond to emergency call outs and carry out their duties to the highest standard.
What do you find most challenging?
The biggest challenge would be ensuring all Transport Staff know their roles and ensure they can carry out the maintenance of the Fire Appliances.† Fire Service equipment is very specialised and it is my responsibility to oversee the standard of work carried out at all times.† I need to be satisfied that all NIFRS Fire Appliances operate at their full capacity 24/7.†
What skills and qualities are required to do your job?
As my role largely involves dealing with people it is very important that I can build good communication with my team and also with the external contractors that we use.† It is essential to be able to maintain a motivated team to ensure the work is completed on time and to a high standard.†
It is vital to have the technical and mechanical engineering skills to oversee the work within the department.† I have worked for the Fire & Rescue Service for 30 years and have built a considerable technical knowledge and with my coaching skills I am able to achieve goals within my unit.
Being able to prioritise work is also extremely important and I feel this is a mark
of any good transport line manager within an essential service such as NIFRS.
How do you relax off-duty?
I really enjoy going on city breaks with my wife and we now have the opportunity to do this more as our two children have both left home and are living in England.
I am very much a family man and tend to spend lot of time with family and friends either eating out or entertaining at home.
My garden is just about a manageable size and I enjoy spending time there especially in the summer.† I am also a keen walker and make sure that I spend a few hours every week enjoying the lovely scenery around our local Tyrone Forest Parks and walks.