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Chloe on call

17 January 2018

These past few weeks Outwell station has been very busy. We’ve attended a number of calls ranging from RTC to building fires!

Chloe photo shoot

My first major building fire was certainly an eye-opener into how much team-work is necessary in this job. We were at the incident for around 6 hours, and the entire time I was working with not only my crew, but also many others. It was hard work as there was allot of hose running that night. I also got to get hands on with some more specialist equipment such as the TIC (Thermal Imaging Camera) which lets us see where the fire is located, how hot it is in the area and essentially provides an insight into the invisible… Heat is impossible to see with the naked eye and when I was using the TIC, although the fire was located in certain places, the heat throughout the building was tremendous.

On this incident the ALP (Aerial Ladder Platform) attended, this is a piece of equipment I have not worked with before and I found it fascinating. I was putting nearly all of my fire ground skills to work which I have learned not only from my induction course, but also from drill nights. Eventually our crew was relieved. When we were tipped out it was pitch black, and as we left the scene the sun was rising! This incident was a true eye opener into how critical team work is, as well as just how much advanced equipment we have as a service.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far as a firefighter. There is never a dull moment as you are always learning, whether it’s new techniques for rescues, alternative uses for pieces of equipment, or even learning more about equipment that you haven’t worked with before, there’s always some-thing new.

As a female firefighter I have never felt like the ‘odd-one-out’. I am always treated equally and that is what I love about this job. I can get just as many opportunities and hands on as everybody else does. I’ve always thought it is important to encourage more women to join the service it is such a rewarding career. So when I was given the opportunity to take part in a photo shoot to do that I jumped at the chance. Elle and Harry came to Outwell to take some pictures of me at work and we had the best time. The new pictures will be used in adverts across the county soon, I can’t wait to see them.

For those of you that don’t know Outwell is only a stone’s throw from Welney. This time of year the A1101 at Welney wash can get flooded. Because of all the rain it’s been flooded off and on for the last month. The diversion is pretty far so people try their luck at getting through the road. We have been there 3 times and other crews have been there another 3 times to get people out of their cars that are stuck. It’s been a good experience for me to deal with water rescue and see some of the specialist kit we have. But not so good for those stuck in the wash waiting for us!  Please, please never drive through this flood water or any, it’s dangerous – can wreck your car and could be the last thing you do! 

Welney (Credit Ian Burt)

 

 

 

14 September 2017

Chloe using a hose at OutwellChloe's adjusting to her new found fame, so it's time for us to catch up with her and see what she's been getting up to! 

This last week has been a really busy one for me. We attended a large fire at a recycling plant. l went with my crew from Outwell station as a relief team to give the other crews a well earned rest! The fire was the biggest I've confronted so far, it was only smoldering in places but still very warm and smokey. This was a great experience as I was able to get hands-on with the equipment, including a special foam we use to put fires out sometimes called CAFS.

I was also given the chance to have a go at operating the pump! This was a little insight into how much our pump operators need to know and how to work such a large piece of machinery... This insight has definitely encouraged me to want to progress to being a pump operator too!

I was quite chuffed to be asked if I could give an interview on radio Norfolk as part of their fire week campaign, they have been trying to help us recruit more retained firefighters. So after a long weekend I hauled myself out of bed on Monday at about 5 (until I joined fire service I didn’t know 5am existed,) to go to Norwich to meet Nick Conrad. What a lovely guy. He is giving almost his entire morning show over to the fire service all this week! We spoke about what it was like to be a woman in the fire service and how easy it is for anyone to just fit in. If you want to listen to it  you will have to fast forward to about 30 mins and 30 second in but there I am.

It has definitely been an exciting and busy week, I cannot wait to see what the next one brings!

 

This blogging stuff seems to be catching on round our way, so here is the first ever blog from Chloe:

14 August 2017

I’m Chloe, you might have seen me before on Declan’s blog or during my two week induction course, in all the photos that were featured on facebook. I have always had an interest in the fire service as my dad was a firefighter when I was young. I went on to study Public Services at college and that kept my interest alive!

Chloe at OutwellI first applied at Outwell 6 weeks before my 18th birthday, I attended drill nights and was fascinated by all the activities they did and equipment used.

Unfortunately I failed my first application process at the last hurdle. I received support by the means of training. My now Watch Manager Glenn, helped me out by holding extra sessions such as equipment carries, dummy drags, he and the rest of the Outwell crew really helped keep my determination up.

One other firefighter even set me a training programme up using the equipment off of the pump. I used the hoses as weights to strengthen my upper body, I would also run them out a lot to help my skills and cardiovascular abilities. I passed the application process second time round and ever since I've been hands on in all of the drill nights.

My two weeks basic training was honestly the most thrilling, tiring, fun and memorable time of my life. At times I felt like I wasn't able to do it, I didn't know how to do things that others did know about, but other times I realised I knew things the others didn't. We all worked as a team, and supported each other. Thanks to that every single one of us passed. I did have to redo a ladder assessment, but again with the help and support of my crew I passed it! That was one of the proudest days of my life.

I really enjoy drill nights, it's an opportunity to learn, improve and essentially get hands on with tools and equipment.

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