Jo Herring, Firefighter
As part of our Wholetime Firefighter Apprentice recruitment campaign, we’re asking some of our current wholetime firefighters for their experience of the job.
We will be featuring some of our newer recruits, as well as those who have worked in the fire and rescue service for many years.
Jo joined the Service in 2017 as an on-call firefighter at Crowthorne Community Fire Station, before joining Wokingham Fire Station as a wholetime firefighter. We asked Jo a few questions about her career in the fire service so far.
What first inspired you to become a firefighter?
As my children started to get older, I started to think about going back to work and what I would like to do. I was keen to find a role that would offer something different and worthwhile that really gave back to the community, whilst fitting in with my family. The opportunity arose to join the fire and rescue service and I thought ‘Why not?’.
What was your best memory of your training course?
The greatest memory of my training course was the achievement I felt on completion. I had never done anything like this before so it was something I was, and still am immensely proud of. I met some amazing people of whom I am still in contact with. I have a photo of us after our water rescue training wearing dry suits, not looking our best but with huge smiles all round!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s such a varied role and there is so much to learn, as well as responding to emergencies as required. Needless to say, there isn’t a typical day. One day can be relatively quiet, the next can be busy with emergencies.
My job keeps me on my toes, which I love. I also love the community feel of the job and getting involved with local events. Talking about my job is so easy and enjoyable to me, as I truly love what I do – and of course, I’m very proud of it.
I get to do so much locally, but I most often go to school fetes to speak on fire safety. I absolutely love the community feel of the job as well as getting to share my passion for the fire and rescue service with others.
In addition, the role offers great flexibility which is important for my family. I’m able to balance working for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service with being a mother.
My children show an interest in what I do and they ask a lot of questions, particularly about animal rescue and fire engines! In addition, my children are becoming aware of fire safety from a young age which is excellent for their education.
Any words of advice for someone considering applying to be a firefighter with us?
Got for it! I attended a ‘Have a Go Day’ to get a feel for what it would be like and whether I was fit enough to pass the entry tests. I also got to speak to firefighters and ask any questions I had. You can also get support surrounding the fitness tests if required. I passed the process and am now dual contract (wholetime and on-call). This role gives me a great sense of achievement and I feel like I make a difference within the community. There are so many career opportunities within Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and avenues for learning.