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Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Headquarters

146 Bolton Road

Swinton, Manchester

M27 8US


Tel: 0161 736 5866

For a FREE Home Fire Safety Check please call:

0800 555 815

Here are some profiles from our amazing volunteers who talk about their time as a volunteer and how they would like to progress even further.

 

ANDRE FELIX

Why did you join as a volunteer with GMFRS?

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose" and my purpose is to help people, affected by either conflict or natural disasters. So my goal was to break into the humanitarian and emergencies sector which I already did by joining GMFRS as a volunteer.

What have you done so far?

Initially I applied for the Events & Campaigns role and at a later date I applied for the Survival Academy and Fire cadets. So I have been doing a lot.

I have attended events across Greater Manchester to promote community safety information, I have worked alongside volunteers, staff, firefighters and other partner agencies to support community talks, presentations and engagement, career events, recruitment promoting, Safe and Well visits, Prince’s Trust awards evenings, community parades and Heartstart Sessions.

What have you enjoyed the most?

I have enjoyed everything I have done with GMFRS and it seems a bit unfair for me to mention only a specific event because I consider fundamental every single action I have performed with the fire service.

What training opportunities have you been given?

So far I have been given training opportunities in Health & Safety, Safeguarding, Fire Safety in the Home, Domestic Abuse Awareness, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator (AED).

What are your ambitions within the Service?

Throughout the years my experience as a volunteer has taught me to feel compassion for those that are suffering. I have learned to be present to the suffering of others and respond from my heart with a desire to relieve this suffering with kindness, caring and support. So in order to fulfil this desire I hope to serve the people of Greater Manchester as a Whole-Time Firefighter and in the long run I wish to be part of the overseas Search and Rescue Team and help Humanity in any corner of the World.

How has volunteering with GMFRS helped you in other areas of your work?

I work as a Field Sales Account Manager and it is part of my job to visit businesses across Manchester on a daily basis and try to build new relationships and maintain the ones I already have. Volunteering with GMFRS helps me to improve those relationships because I can give useful information to business owners about the services that GMFRS can provide and also give fire safety advice in the premises of the shops.

 

PAULA MAZZUCCO

Why did you join as a volunteer with GMFRS?

The reason I joined as a volunteer with GMFRS was for a few reasons, the first one being I was presented with the opportunity to help people and make a difference with GMFRS felt like an honour and the second one having to be studying at University a Forensic Science and Criminology degree it seemed amazing to have that chance to gain more skills and insight.

What have you done so far?

I have done various things so far, most have been engaging with the public in events such as jobs fairs, I have shadowed CSA's in safe and well visits, took part in events such as the Manchester Day Parade, reassured people after an accident has happened, acted as a casualty when crews need to train, promoted volunteering, and currently waiting to start doing operation stay safe alongside police… The list could go on and on.

What have you enjoyed the most?

The thing that I enjoyed the most was the Manchester Day Parade. It was amazing to see the public enjoying such a nice sunny day. But I think what made it special was being able to open the parade with other emergency services, it wasn't as much "enjoyed" it was feeling very proud to be asked to be one of the people to represent GMFRS.

What training opportunities have you been given?

I have been given training on Health and Safety, domestic abuse, suicide awareness, safe and well visits, basic first AID.

What are your ambitions within the Service?

My ambitions are to carry on volunteering for as long as I can and always try and help people in the future I would also love to work for them.

How has volunteering with GMFRS helped you in other areas of your work?

Volunteering has made me such a more confident person, also, the training that has been offered has made me such a more employable person. With the degree I am studying it has also opened a lot of doors for me with the people you meet and volunteering alongside police is something that in the future I will be all able to talk about as I will have that extra skill for future jobs I want to do.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining?

Join now! That’s what I would honestly say, GMFRS has become my second family.

The new skills you learn are incredible, the opportunities that they present you with, the people you volunteer alongside with are amazing and the best one of all is that feeling you get when you know you helped to make a difference especially around the community you live in.

 

Sue Abbott, Barbara Walton and Mairead Pindar are three ladies who have joined GMFRS’ volunteer scheme after working for Greater Manchester Police. Read their experiences of volunteering at GMFRS below.

 

SUE ABBOTT

Sue Abbott.jpg

Why did you join as a volunteer with GMFRS?

I have volunteered from the age of 17. Most recently I was an Appropriate Adult with Greater Manchester Police which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In May 2017 I decided to disband the AA volunteers, and after a couple of months twiddling my thumbs I was ready to look at a new area of volunteering.

I knew Uzma from her time with the AA scheme and I was very interested when I got the invitation to get involved with GMFRS’ volunteer’s scheme.

 

What have you done so far?

  • Visited the Bury Training and Safety Centre and helped with two Christmas Carol Services
  • Visited a school in Urmston to deliver the Heart Start package to the pupils and helped them “have a go”
  • Taken part in 3 training exercises, in two of them crews were responding to fires in high rise properties (my brief was to be a bit of a pain in the neck - mithering and just being a general nuisance!) and in the third exercise I was the driver of a crashed a car with neck injuries who had to be “rescued”
  • I have also washed and cleaned several fire vehicles

 

What training opportunities have you been given?

I have completed the following training sessions:

  • Volunteer Induction Training
  • Chip Pan fire display training
  • Familiarisation visit to Bury Training Centre
  • Heart Start refresher
  • WRAP training

 

The following training due to be completed in the upcoming months:

  • Chaplains Induction Training
  • Suicide awareness

 

What are your ambitions within the Service?

I have been retired since 2007 and whilst I am enjoying every minute of not having to get up early I don’t like sitting around doing nothing.  If you’ve got some time on your hands then take a look at what GMFRS offers you as a volunteer. It doesn’t matter if you are a young person wondering if the Fire Service is for you as a career or someone older, like me just have a go! It will, of course take up some of your spare time but I think you’ll find the experience is well worth the effort.  

 

BARBARA WALTON

Barbara Walton.jpg

What have you done so far?

As a 71 year old I have been a volunteer for GMFRS for around 6 months. I am thoroughly enjoying the work, and appreciate the company of other volunteers who come in all ages shapes, sizes and backgrounds.

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a GMFRS volunteer?

Volunteering is a way to help other people but it also helps me. I was worried that I was too old at 71 but this has not been a problem and the only areas I don’t think I’ll get involved in are the climbing wall and caged football anything else I will have a go at!

 

How has volunteering with GMFRS helped you in other areas of your work?

  • I also want to be involved in the training side and if this involves “having a bit of fun” as well then, why not!
  • I would like to be part of the Chaplains team; having worked all my life in the Prison Service I know how important it is to support staff and this is an area the Chaplains are important in.
  • Learning how to use the exhibition chip pan fire equipment
  • Visited Oldham college to demonstrate to the students what can be the results of not cleaning your windscreen in winter
  • Took part in an RTC demonstration - I was stretchered out of the vehicle
  • I have participated in a variety of different assessment of officers, firstly being a casualty in an RTC, a house fire and a chemical incident
  • A large scale chemical spillage at the airport, and an even larger scale incident in which there was a fire in a high rise used by homeless people
  • I have made visits to socially isolated people
  • Participated at a charity car wash
  • Carol Service as well as acting as a station guardian
  • Helped at a careers evening at my local academy

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a GMFRS volunteer?

The Firefighters are always appreciative, of us giving them our time, and I personally find it very rewarding.

 

MAIREAD PINDAR 

Mairead Pindar.jpg

Why did you join as a volunteer with GMFRS?

In 2009 on retirement I joined GMPA as a volunteer for Independent Custody Visiting and Appropriate Adult at Police Stations. The appeal of the voluntary schemes they offered was flexibility, you choose when to work and did not have to commit to a set time on a specific day. Having enjoyed working in the teaching profession for 40 years it was a perfect way to embrace retirement. In 2017 a decision was taken to discontinue the AA scheme and whilst there was the opportunity to move across to work for the new provider it was no longer a voluntary scheme. At that time whilst I was aware that GMFRS had a volunteer’s scheme, I had no knowledge of what was on offer and mistakenly thought it would be mainly opportunities for those who wished to join the Fire Service.

Uzma was contacted by one of the AAs who like myself felt she did not wish to move from a voluntary scheme to ‘paid employment’ and a lunchtime meeting was set up, resulting in a whole new world of volunteering opening up. Flexibility was still on offer and many more opportunities to be involved with a wider community.

 

What have you done so far?

Most of the activities I have taken part in have been involving young people:

  • Station Guardian at Hindley Fire Station, Princes Trust Presentation at Bolton, Careers Fairs
  • I have taken part in a Citizen Panel Event in Swinton and a community event at Bury Training and Safety Centre
  • Training support for firefighters at training exercises
  • The opportunity to sort the uniform and compile an inventory at Bolton

 

What training opportunities have you been given?

  • Induction CPR
  • Opportunity to partake in mental health training
  • Suicide prevention training
  • Domestic abuse
  • Currently undertaking training for role of Champlain

 

How has volunteering with GMFRS helped you in other areas of your work?

We all need to be needed and the opportunities to take part in meaningful activities ensures that that need is met. This is very important for one’s mental well-being. The training opportunities on offer allows me to keep up to date with current developments and gives me an up to date ‘Tool Kit’ to deal with situations which may arise in other areas of my life.

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