Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue (HWFRS) volunteers come from all ages and backgrounds.
Canadian-born Katie Cruickshank moved from Canada to Worcester more than 10 years ago. Working as Cabin Crew on long haul flights for British Airways she commutes twice a week to and from Heathrow Airport, and can spend days at a time out of the country.
But despite her jet set lifestyle she still finds time to volunteer for HWFRS. Inspired to become a volunteer by a family friend, who had been a HWFRS volunteer, Katie has been supporting the fire service and her community for more than three years.
Katie said: “I initially enquired about becoming a volunteer as a result of the positive stories I had heard from my mother-in-law, who has been volunteering for HWFRS for more than four years now. I have a very busy job working as Cabin Crew and my hours from week to week can be unpredictable, however, HWFRS give me the flexibility to volunteer as little or as much as I can manage, although I generally work a minimum of six hours a month.”
A volunteer’s role can cover a number of scenarios, from assisting with Open Days at a fire station, and participating in educational community initiatives, to role-playing and acting as an active casualty in training exercises.
Many of the life-saving skills Katie’s gained through training with HWFRS, for example first aid and general fire safety, can also be transferred to support her role with British Airways and vice versa.
Becoming a volunteer has not only opened up her skill-set but also opened her friendship circle, and she’s met some of her closest friends through volunteering.
Katie concluded: “Volunteering with HWFRS fits perfectly with my hectic lifestyle, and makes me feel like I’m really making a positive difference in the community. The feedback I get from both the HWFRS team and community encourages me to take every opportunity I can to volunteer whilst learning valuable skills that can be applied to everyday situations.”