Francis Healy is an on-call firefighter at Lytham station. Alongside his commitments to the fire service, he works as a telecoms engineer. Here he gives an insight into what life is like on call…
Why did you apply to be an on-call firefighter?
It’s in the family as my dad was a firefighter for quite a few years and my uncle is a firefighter, so it was always in the back of my mind. I’m a telecoms engineer now, but before that I worked in restaurants and bars where the hours and shifts were always changing so it never lined up with being on call. I didn’t apply because of the shifts I worked but I didn’t realise how much flexibility there actually is, whatever your main job is you can work around it.
What drew you to the role?
It’s always been in the back of my mind because of family links but I also like the giving back aspect, I was born here and grew up in Lytham so it’s somewhere I’ve always been drawn back to. Aside from that I like the fact you don’t know what you could be called out for, you could be sat watching TV one minute and five minutes later you could be outside a burning fish and chip shop in St Annes!
Can you recall a memorable incident you’ve attended?
Sometimes there is a lull for quite a while and you become accustomed to false alarms, but there was one incident where we got paged at five in the morning and as we were driving up to the incident and saw the smoke billowing the atmosphere just changed, and everyone switched into their individual roles and did what we’d been trained to do. It all kind of fits into place in that moment, everyone worked together and everything we’d been taught in training came to life – that was the first time I’d seen it in practice.
Have you got any advice for someone looking to apply?
Come down to drill nights! I started coming down to drill nights before I applied, every Tuesday I’d speak to the crew. I kick myself because if I’d have done that in the first place, I’d probably have applied a lot sooner! I’ve been on call for just over a year and a half, but I was thinking about it at least two years before.
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Find out more about being an on-call firefighter and apply here: www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/careers