Dean McWhirter Firefighter Control Regional Control Centre, NIFRS HQ, Lisburn Read this articleRead all 9 articles
How long have you been a Community Firefighter?
6 years as a Retained Firefighter for Ballymena Fire Station
Describe a typical day?
A typical day is making yourself available to respond to calls which mean you have to be able to get to the Station within 5 minutes. In order to do this I have to make sure that I can get childminding duties covered in case I am required to attend a fire call.
Why did you want to become a Firefighter?
I joined the NI Fire & Rescue Service as I thought it would be interesting and exciting. I wanted to get the chance to help people which has given me great job satisfaction.
What is the difference between a Wholetime and a Community Firefighter?
I am both a Wholetime and Community Firefighter and I know that we carry out the same duties at fire calls and training. The main difference is in relation to the work pattern. Wholetime Firefighters are based at the Station and shifts. Community Firefighters respond to fire calls when alerted by pager and make their way to the Station within 5 minutes to meet the rest of the Crew.
How does the role of a Community Firefighter suit your lifestyle and what aspects do you enjoy the most and least?
I was able to make the necessary adjustments in my home life to suit the role of a Retained Firefighter. Being a Firefighter is something I really enjoy and you are able to help people out of some difficult situations.
The down side to the job is that, unfortunately, you do come across tragic circumstances such as a fatality or are dealing with people who may have lost property to a fire.
Would you recommend a career as a Community Firefighter?
Yes, it teaches you discipline and new skills that benefit you outside the job as well as in life in general. The flexibility of the role still allows me to participate in my sporting activities including golf, football and swimming.