Smiling firefighter in uniform standing on balcony

“If you really want to be a firefighter, just be ambitious and passionate about the career and go for it! It’s very rewarding and I could not ask for a better job.”

Sam O’Malley recently joined Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service as a firefighter at age 26. He explained: 

“I became a firefighter because I wanted a career with a purpose that not only benefited me personally but also gave me a sense of pride in the work I do. I love physical work as well as community engagement and wanted a long-term career so, as soon as positions became available, I jumped at the opportunity and seized it.  


“I previously worked as a bin man while pursuing a career in acting, but this wasn’t progressing and I didn’t feel fulfilled. When COVID happened, it made me wake up and go for a career I never thought I’d be good enough to get into – that was the Fire & Rescue Service.  


“I really enjoyed the recruitment process; it was challenging in that it tested me mentally with the computer assessments, and the physical assessments were fun but equally challenging. I knew a lot would be covered so I made sure I revised as much as possible to give myself the best possible chance.” 

Sam has now been working at Coleshill Fire Station for the past five months. He shared what a typical day looks like and the impact this career has already had on his life: 

“My typical shift will start at 07:30, we complete a morning parade with the Officer in Charge for the day giving us our brief: this could include training schedules, booked exercises, safe and well visits or business visits.  


“Following that, we fall out to do our duties which, for me, include a daily check of my Breathing Apparatus set, changing over water rescue kit from the previous shift and then completing and signing off the inventory. 


“After breakfast, it depends on the day, but we may have a schedule of equipment management system entries to complete or forms to print out for a visit. We’ll then have some form of physical training or computer-based training along with personal development – this is key for me as a development firefighter. 


“Of course, all this can change should we have an emergency to attend to. Things move very quickly in that instance - in total it's a few minutes from the emergency alert to being mobile on the way to an incident.  


“I’ve already attended a few major incidents, including motorway crashes and a serious crash on an A-road. I’ve also attended a car on fire inside a locked garage and been involved in several multi-agency exercises. 


“For me, the most rewarding part is when you complete a job and know that you’ve prevented a situation getting worse and may even have saved a life.  


“My family are extremely proud of what I have achieved, and it gives me immense pride knowing that I work in the emergency services.” 

When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking of becoming a firefighter, Sam said: 

“I’d advise them they need to study hard and that you really need to want it. There’s serious competition, so speak to firefighters – ask for a tour of your local stations – and incorporate exercises into your schedule to prepare for the physical elements of the job. Research is so important. 


“Ambition is an essential quality for a firefighter, throughout your career and especially in the development stages. You need to want to work hard and be the best you can be. There’ll be lots of experienced people at your station, so be sure to learn from them as much as you can. 


“If you really want to be a firefighter, just be ambitious and passionate about the career and go for it! It’s very rewarding and I could not ask for a better job.” 

Applications for wholetime firefighters are now open: learn more and start your application here. 

Published: 1st August 2022