Paul Hoey Wholetime Firefighter Red Watch, Ballymena Fire Station Read this articleRead all 9 articles
How long have you been a Community Firefighter?
I have been a Community Firefighter for almost 2 & a half years now.
Outline what a typical day would consist of when you are available for fire calls?
Being available for fire calls as a full-time musician can sometimes mean that one minute I am working on a song or a piece of music for a project, and then suddenly the pager goes and I am in the back of a fire appliance on my way to what could be a house fire, a water rescue, a road traffic collision, a wild land fire, or any number of different scenarios. The one common denominator in all of them is that someone is in trouble and needs help.
What made you join Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service?
Most of my life I-ve had a great desire to be a Firefighter. Being a Firefighter doesn’t just mean that you put fires out, more often than not you get to be part of a team that rescues people who are in danger, and in some cases, you can have a huge impact on saving a person-s life.
Do you find that the role of a Community Firefighter suits your lifestyle?
For me, the role fits perfectly. A lot of the time the music side of things can be significantly isolating, and being a Firefighter means that one minute I’m on my own working, then within minutes I can be with 5 other Firefighters on the way to an incident. When you work together, live close to one another, train together and go into dangerous scenarios together, it builds a unique sense of community, friendship and family that I’ve never experienced in any other job. Also on a more practical note, with the nature of my full-time job being more unpredictable than say a standard 9-5, I am able to book the hours I need for my full-time job and easily make both work to the benefit of all involved.
What are the most enjoyable parts of the job & What are the most challenging parts of the role?
I enjoy every part of the job, I think it can be what you make it. I tend to take a positive approach to all of it and see it as a new skill I can learn. I enjoy the community aspect, the friendship with everyone at station, and being part of a team. I enjoy the training and how the training challenges you both physically and mentally. It can also be challenging at times to balance both jobs, but at the end of the day anything worth having does not come easy, and the pro’s by far outweigh the con’s.
Would you recommend becoming a Community Firefighter as a career option?
I would highly recommend becoming a Community Firefighter. It-s been easily one of the best experiences of my career so far.
Is there anything that someone should be aware of when applying to become a Community Firefighter?
think it-s important for anyone thinking of applying to be a Community Firefighter to be aware that this job will not always be easy and will be challenging in a number of ways. It requires a good attitude, and a relatively significant amount of commitment and responsibility.
What are your interests outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy socialising with friends, mountain biking, surfing/bodyboarding, any kind of physical exercise and spending time with my family.
Have the skills that you have learnt with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service benefitted your life outside?
There is no doubt that being a part of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service has benefitted me greatly, in so many positive ways.