Meet Chris, watch manager, fire service
What did you do before this? Before becoming a watch manager I spent 16 years within the airport fire service as firefighter, then a leading firefighter. Prior to that I was a security supervisor at Gatwick. I did this for three years after I had left The Royal Engineers which was my first job from school.
What do you like best about your job? What I like best are the variety of challenges each different day or night can bring. Whether it’s dealing with emergency situations as part of a professional team, or the day to day issues that arise in an airport Fire station. I think everyone has different qualities, and to coin a phrase “different people bring different things to the party”. I do, however, think that being flexible, adaptable and being able to think on your feet do put you in good stead for any role within the airport fire service.
What advice would you give a new recruit? I was a new recruit once, so consistently giving the maximum effort in everything you do will always be a good foundation for any career. Be willing to learn and receptive towards the instructors that may train you will ultimately brings it rewards.
What’s a typical day like? In my current role a typical day would start at 7am. It would involve the checking of all my personal protective equipment and other equipment that I may be required to use throughout the day. Then I have various IT work to do before our watch’s morning brief. The day from then on is not so typical. It can vary depending on emergency calls, training exercises, mandatory tests and inspections, fire safety inspections, liaison with other departments and meetings,also visits from Local authority emergency services etc. We also have time allocated to maintain our levels of fitness that are required for the role as a firefighter. But going back to an earlier question there is no typical day and that’s what I like about this career.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining Gatwick Airport? If you want a career in a progressive and ever changing environment that has day to day challenges within every role in every department then look no further. I have been here over 20 years and have never looked back. On a lighter note, if you love aeroplanes then you’ve cracked it!