What is your career background?
Since I was a teenager, I wanted to work in the Emergency Services because I had been volunteering in the Civil Defence and St Johns Ambulance for years and really enjoyed it. When I was 20 the Fire Service ran a recruitment campaign, and I went through the selection process and was selected as a recruit. I was the first ever female firefighter in Cork City Fire Brigade.
I spent a year as a recruit before becoming a firefighter. In 2011 I was promoted to Leading Firefighter, in 2014 I became a Sub Officer and in 2020 I became a Senior Station Officer in charge of Ballyvolane Fire Station. I have 26 years service under my belt and over the years have availed of lots of training opportunities provided by the fire service that have helped me develop my career.
What does your role involve?
Our day is very structured within the service and we work in shifts. The day always involves upskilling or refreshing skills. If no emergency calls come in our day involves checking that all our equipment is in working order, cleaning the station and making sure it is in working order, running drills (like setting up rescue scenarios), attending lectures and more.
We are of the busiest stations in the city. Last year we received nearly 3,500 calls. We deal with the city and some of the county and our area of responsibility has expanded in recent years as the city boundary has changed.
What are the most rewarding things about working for a local authority?
Saving lives is our primary purpose and providing this service for the public is very rewarding. Working with the fire service is seen as a very honourable job in the community. Making our community safer for everyone is a very achievable outcome and one we have a leading role in.
Why should someone consider a career with a local authority?
I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to serve their community. There are great learning opportunities to be had here too. If you express an interest in an area – be it Health and Safety, First Aid or using specialist equipment you will be provided training in it and reap the benefits that can have for your career.