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Meet Trainee Wholetime FF Mark Featherstone

After applying to be a Firefighter twice before, Mark was successful in securing his dream job. We found out what his first week of training was like.

About Me

Becoming a firefighter with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) has been a goal of mine for a long time and having put in lots of effort over many years, I’ve finally secured my dream job.

As you can imagine, the application process and selection tests are competitive and in-depth, but my advice would be to research the job, the process and the values of DFRS to put you in the best position.

Possibly the best bit of advice would be; if you are considering a career as a firefighter, don’t give up. I applied twice before being successful and many other recruits have similar stories, so prepare and do your research.

I was invited to information sessions before starting training, which I found really insightful. It also gave all of the recruits a chance to meet and get to know each other before the course started; which proved invaluable as we’ve quickly become close.

Week 1 - Protection

The first day was very busy meeting with lots of different people including the Chief Fire Officer, who came to see us, gave us an inspiring chat and wished us well, which was nice.

The rest of the week has been tough mentally, with lots to learn. We focused on many things including Service legislation, building construction methods, evacuation strategies and fire protection methods. We had the opportunity to visit several sites to look at real life scenarios and put into practice what we have learnt over the week. One of the places I visited was Derby Velodrome which I found particularly interesting to look around and see how such a building is managed in terms of fire safety.

The whole group took part in a physical training session, a timed test, which was hard to say the least. It was a good session and a way to realise that I could do more, even when I thought I had nothing more to give. With two more of these tests coming up I’m looking forward to beating my time and seeing my fitness improve.

To summarise my first week, I would say it’s been busy and mentally challenging with the amount there is to learn. I’ve met lots of people in the Service who are friendly, knowledgeable and want us to succeed. Some strong relationships are already developing with my colleagues and I’m looking forward to week two of my dream job.