Firefighter Hannah Archdeacon
Hannah has been a firefighter for almost ten years. It all started when she attended a 'Have A Go' day, now she’s a firefighter on White Watch at Cambridge Fire Station and a mum to two young children.
“I wanted a job that was varied, where I was doing something different every day, that was active and quite physically challenging.”
“I knew it was going to be a male dominated environment, but I didn’t see that as a barrier. Growing up with three brothers I always knew that girls can do everything that boys can do so decided to give it a go.”
Working shifts gives Hannah a great work-life balance. She gets to spend quality time with her family, while working as wholetime firefighter.
“I’m lucky I work on a shift system, where I work days and nights. I get the opportunity to come to work and be a firefighter but I also get time at home with my family.”
“I have two young children so it can be a juggling act between shifts and nursery runs, but it’s very good for work-life balance. A lot of colleagues have families so there’s a big support network within the Fire Service.”
“When you get onto the fire station you realise that people come from all walks of life - whether that’s different genders, builds or fitness levels, but everyone has a part to play in the watch. There’s a great level of camaraderie, it’s like an extended family. Everyone has a laugh and joke, but at the end of the day everyone is there to support each other.”
“Some things we experience together as a watch can be challenging, but I f you’ve got any worries or concerns, there are always people around you that will listen and understand what you’re going through.”
Before starting her journey to becoming a firefighter, Hannah attended a 'Have A Go' day.
“Before I became a firefighter, I worked as Cabin Crew from London Gatwick so it was a very different career. Joining the Service was something that I had considered in the back of my mind but didn’t want to go for it until I was ready to settle down and had been travelling.”
“I went along to a Have A Go day in London 10 years ago with nothing to lose and it was a great eye opener. In life, you don’t know how you will react to some things until you experience it for the first time. The session made me realise that I didn’t mind enclosed spaces or heights, and I got to experience the tests you would need to pass to do the job before you start the process of applying.”
“It was a very long application process. It took over 12 months and included lots of physical, written and fitness tests - But it was definitely worth it and now I’ve had nine years of doing a job that I love!”