Beckie Hamilton, Firefighter

Beckie Hamilton, Firefighter, at Newbury
Lives: Newbury
Wholetime firefighter recruitment poster with text saying 'I am able to do what I love with the perfect work-life balance" and a portrait of Beckie Hamilton to the right

Day in the life/ what’s a general day for you?

The morning is when we normally do all our safety checks. We also use this time to get together as a team and hand over important information from the previous Watch or go through health and safety or Operational Bulletins.

Each day we carry out training exercises; breathing apparatus, pumps and ladders, road traffic collision, working at height or water rescue.

One of the most rewarding parts of the role for me is the Safe and Well Visits. These are often with vulnerable residents that may have various health issues and we are able to spend time with them to advise on fire safety. Not only do we provide vital safety information for people across the County, but I find residents benefit from the time we spend talking to them. Some may not have visitors very often, so it’s great to be able to visit them with the knowledge that when we leave, they are that bit safer in their home.

During visits we may install deaf alarms which use a flashing light and vibrations, fire alarms or provide fire retardant bed sheets if it’s appropriate and would benefit the resident.

I enjoy this part of the job – you come away and you feel like you’ve done a really worthwhile job and the community really appreciate it.

Beckie’s story:

I was a nanny for 12 years, with two of those years spent in Toronto, Canada. I taught fitness classes at the local gym and there was a woman there who was a firefighter. I went to an open day at Caversham Road Fire Station when I came back to the UK and after a couple more years of nannying, I decided to apply.

18 years ago, when I joined the Fire and Rescue Service, three women were on the course from Berkshire and since then the number of female applicants has increased which is brilliant.

I feel very lucky that I have a great work life balance. I have an 11-year-old daughter and my job has enabled me to spend lots of time with her as she has grown up. For me it works perfectly.

In my spare time I am a keen cyclist. I recently turned 50 and took on a charity initiative to take on 50 cycling challenges. I raised £3,000 for cycling charity, Ride for Charlie.

To find out more about the campaign, please click here.