For Zac Taylor, becoming a firefighter was inevitable and part of his family’s tradition that has spanned generations.
Father of two, 27-year-old Zac, has lived in Eastchurch most of his life and said: “I grew up hearing many stories about KFRS, so knew from an early age it was a career path I wanted to follow.”
He is the third generation to work for Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) and follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Stan Partner, who was part of the first fire crew at Eastchurch Fire Station and worked there until 1986. His father, Andrew Taylor served there from 1988 to 1992 before moving to Queenborough Fire Station and his mother Sharon Gale was the first female firefighter on the island.
Zac joined KFRS as an on-call firefighter in 2006, when he was 18, combining it with his day job as a plumbing and heating engineer: "I found it was really easy to fit my on-call hours around my main job, it's very flexible and they actually complemented each other. I've used my KFRS first aid training to treat a casualty while working as an engineer; while my plumbing and heating knowledge has come in really useful at some of the incidents we've attended such as when gas appliances have needed isolating.
"My desire to help others is the main reason I joined as an on-call firefighter but the camaraderie and working as part of a team is a huge part of the job. When we're called out to incidents we know we're working together towards a common goal, trying to help people. It's a great feeling, knowing you’re making a difference to someone’s day and in some cases, their life.”
Some people have preconceptions about how fit you have to be to become an on-call firefighter, so may rule themselves out of the process before finding out the facts. The role is varied and anyone applying will need to:
Be at least 18-years-old – KFRS welcomes people of all ages, both men and women
Live or work within five minutes travelling time of Eastchurch Fire Station
Have a good level of all round fitness
Be able to respond quickly when KFRS needs you
Zac ended: “The work can be very physical and we rarely go into a building empty handed; we’ll be hauling hose lines, pitching ladders and carrying heavy equipment up multi-storey buildings. We also have to handle heavy hydraulic cutting equipment at road crashes and we work in a range of environments. It can be hot and humid, dark and confined, outside in all weathers but it’s not just our physical ability that is tested, we need to have a good level of numeracy and literacy and mental strength is really important.”
If you are enthusiastic and can meet the requirements above, why not come along to a recruitment event being held at Eastchurch Fire Station, Church Road, Eastchurch on Tuesday, 14 April 7-9pm and find out what’s involved.
More information is available at www.kent-uk.org/oncall