A photo of firefighter, Matthew Brand WFRS
Matthew Brand

“I find it thrilling that I never know what kind of emergency I will be attending until the bell rings in the station. It’s an exciting feeling heading somewhere to fix a problem."

Matt Brand, 44, is a Firefighter based at Rugby Fire Station and he joined Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2017. Matthew had previously worked in the hospitality and catering industry and was considering a change in career.  A friend suggested he consider applying for a Firefighter role, and after some deliberation he took the plunge and applied.

His application was successful at the initial stage and he began the recruitment process in April 2017, joining a cohort of prospective Fire Fighters passing through the different testing stages.  There was a camaraderie among the applicants, and he would hear from others sharing their experiences of the different stages.

Matthew found the interview stage of the recruitment process to be a little daunting, as he had previously run his own company and, as a result, he hadn’t participated in an interview for over 10 years.  However, he did find that having had a career before joining WFRS, he had a lot of life and work experience to draw upon that helped him through this stage.

His hard work during the recruitment process paid off as he successfully completed all the stages and was enrolled onto the new recruits’ course in September 2017.  He still works alongside many of the people he went through the recruitment process with.

Since becoming a Firefighter, Matthew has continued to develop his skills and has become qualified as a Boat Operator, reached Level 2 in Animal Rescue and recently completed his blue light training allowing him to drive all the emergency response vehicles at the station and respond to emergencies in a prompt and safe manner.  He admits that he felt somewhat nervous taking the role of learner driver again as the last time he took a driving test was 1993 but it was good to embrace the challenge of driving different types of vehicles and continue to build his skills as a firefighter.

Matt thinks that anyone interested in applying for WFRS should have the confidence to do so as it takes all types of people to run the Service and they are not looking for a specific type of person.  He thinks that sometimes the first barrier to a person applying is in their mind.  As he demonstrates, you are never too old or long in the tooth to learn new skills.

Published: 21st May 2021