Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Careers - Crew Commander Graham Ross – Whitehead Fire Station

Graham Ross Position Crew Commander Whitehead

How long have you been a retained Firefighter? 10 years

What does your role consist of? I am a Crew Commander at Whitehead Fire Station and I am responsible for overseeing the Fire Crew when we-re out at incidents.  My job also involves seeing that all aspects of the Station run smoothly and that all the training is recorded.

Outline what a typical day would consist of when you are available for fire calls?

As a photographer I travel around East Antrim for work but when in Whitehead I’m either in the house working on pictures on the computer or in the studio taking photographs.

What made you join Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service?

I wanted to help make my community a safer place.

What is the difference between a Retained Firefighter and a Whole time Firefighter?

Wholetime Firefighters work on a shift pattern but a Retained Firefighter works on a pager call out system. Other than that the job is the same, we provide safety visits to schools and homes and respond to emergency incidents, fires and road traffic collisions.

Do you find that the role of a Retained Firefighter suits your lifestyle?

Yes, it compliments my lifestyle and my work as a photographer very well.  I can give time during the day to help keep my community safe as a Retained Firefighter.

What are the most enjoyable parts of the job?

The feeling you get when you know you have made a difference to someone’s life is amazing but also the educational side to the job, interacting with the local school children and seeing them take in the knowledge you give them and know they are going to put it to good use.

What are the most challenging parts of the role?

Being on call. You can be called out at any time of day or night and unfortunately I love my sleep.  It-s all part of the job though and what makes the role unique.

Would you recommend becoming a retained Firefighter as a career option?

Yes it is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world.

Is there anything that someone should be aware of when applying to become a Retained Firefighter working the new day time contract?

The new daytime contract means that Firefighters must be available for at least 40 hours per week, normally between 8am-6pm Monday to Friday in order to respond to emergency calls.  You must also be able to respond to the Fire Station within 5 minutes of being alerted by pager.

What are your interests outside of work?

I’m lucky enough to have a job that is my interest, photography! It started out as a hobby but has turned into a great job and a business.

Have the skills that you have learnt with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service benefited your life outside?

Yes I am more confident and know that if someone required assistance such as first aid I am able to give that help.

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