Soldier, vet nurse, and now firefighter
Firefighter Amy Jones of Ewyas Harold combines her role as a veterinary nurse with her career as an on-call firefighter with HWFRS.
On weekdays Amy (32) works at a veterinary surgery in Hereford, but overnight and at weekends she has committed 80 hours a week to be prepared to wear her fire tunic, boots, and helmet with the Ewyas Harold on-call crew.
This fire station supports the people of the rural communities of Herefordshire's Golden Valley who need emergency assistance. She will carry an alerter and has to be at the fire station within five minutes to join the rest of the crew to attend any incident.
"I recently joined up as an on-call firefighter and I'm still in training," said Amy. "I served four years in the army as a dog handler, including a tour of Afghanistan, and since retraining and qualifying as a veterinary nurse, I wanted to be involved in something that offered me the camaraderie of the armed forces.
"I also love living in Ewyas Harold and as I work in Hereford, being one of the local firefighters gives me the chance to contribute to my home community.
"I visited one of the drill nights at Ewyas Harold Fire Station, met some of the crew and officers, and it cemented my determination to progress my application. The crew were really together and serious about their role, but also had a brilliant rapport. I think this will suit me just fine!"
On-call firefighters attend a weekly drill night at the fire station, practising essential procedures, learning new skills for fighting fires, or dealing with road traffic collisions. Amy has just completed the first four days of her core skills training, which included water pumping skills from hydrants and the fire engine, and learning to pump water from another source.
Meeting the fitness standards of the fire service has been no problem for Amy who is at the gym five days a week, between walking her dogs and starting work!
"I'm really looking forward to being operational in a few months, being part of this team and handling the excitement and responsibility of having the chance to save someone's life. Learning new things is always a fun challenge – and the extra money is useful too.
"I already work fairly long days at the vet practice, but I'm pretty disciplined with my time, and both my husband and boss are really supportive of my firefighting commitments, so I reckon I'll manage to keep a good balance of home and my two jobs."
Sandra Hunt, Practice Manager at The Laurels Veterinary Group said: "When Amy asked if we would support her in becoming an on-call firefighter we had no hesitation and said yes immediately. We understand the vital role that the on-call firefighters provide, especially in rural areas where we have a surgery, and where Amy lives. As an employer it hasn't really impacted on our day to day running of our business, and even the training has been spread over weekends, which lessens any impact. With the training, Amy has increased in confidence which has a knock on effect in her 'day job' too!"
To learn more about becoming an on-call firefighter:
- view the on-call FAQs
- read other on-call firefighter stories
- complete the on-call firefighter expression of interest form
- contact the HR department on 01905 368 343, or 01905 368 378 (24 hour answer phone) or via email