I joined the army at 16 and did five years in the military, then while I was still serving in the jungles in Belize I filled in the application form for the fire service. I had to write an apology note with the form to explain I was doing it from a hammock in the jungle.
A month after leaving the army I joined West Midlands Fire Service. It was the fire service that actually led me into the medical profession. I joined the fire service at 21. I stayed there for 14 years. I was inspired by a training sub officer who told me about a place in Stoke that did advance medical training. I paid for it all myself. I became an emergency medical technician and I still wasn’t happy with that so I paid for more courses and more training. I went to Denmark doing training courses, worked in Sarajevo and became a paramedic with the West Midlands Fire Service. I was still a fireman but a paramedic in my spare time.
I left the fire service in 2004 and I had my own company doing paramedic cover and teaching first aid courses. I taught for a company called Pilgrims and went to Nairobi and taught a medical and survival course to reporters who were going to be going overseas. I then went out to Baghdad because of my fire training and knowledge. It was during the elections, after the war, and they have a huge electoral building so they needed a fire and safety officer to run the building. I stayed in Iraq for about four years and went to Afghanistan and Kabul and Helmand Province for two years.
I spotted a job on Indeed with a company called GMS for a prevention officer to deal with fire and medical issues at Jaguar Land Rover. It sounded absolutely perfect. I joined April 1 2017. I joined the core team and took part in all of the training. I was the first to pass the first responder emergency care course to level 4.
I am now the CPD lead for FREC at Jaguar Land Rover. I maintain the level of all employees’ qualifications. I’ve just designed a course for the controllers on how to dispatch for medical injuries and conditions.
The minute an employee sets foot onto site the level of care they have is really quite something. We are not just security. At the Engine Manufacturing Centre for instance we have two fully functional medical rooms, medical response vehicle and four staff who are a minimum of FREC 3 trained. All the controllers are getting trained in medical dispatch. We’ve done the fire breathing apparatus course. We’ve gone above and beyond to look after employees at all times. On the shop floor we have tens and tens of first aiders. Our response time is only four minutes to anywhere on the site. We have a defibrillator and gas and air. I would have joined years ago if I’d know that we had this professional set-up and duty of care to our people.
I still reflect on the most formative years of my career which were undoubtedly in the army. It was about discipline and respect. That’s what shaped me into the person I am today. I was up at 5am every day making my bed in a block that was 15×15 inches. If your boots weren’t clean they were thrown out of the window. That’s where I got my work ethic. Taking pride in what you do, doing it well but also being honest and frank with people. I still run 10km per day and I’m always determined to do the best job I can every day.