Firefighter Mark Moloney

Working in administration for a large travel company just wasn't pushing the right buttons for Mark.

He explains: "I wanted a job which was rewarding, which made me feel like I was helping people and making a difference to people's lives. I didn't want to just earn a living and pay the bills - I wanted something more. I wanted to be able to look back and feel proud and that I'd done something worthwhile. I wanted a job that was interesting and wasn't the same every day. It had to be stimulating and I quite liked the idea of there being an element of risk and danger. I wanted to work outdoors, be active and work with people.

"I guess the fire service ticks all those boxes!"

After speaking with a friend who worked for the fire service, he decided to apply but unfortunately didn't get in. He says: "That made me more determined. I then realised how much I wanted it and how much this job really was for me."

With perseverance Mark got in and 19 years on, he is still as passionate about his role as a firefighter now as he was when he started.

Mark reflects: "I've learned a lot in the time I've been here. I've learned new skills and some are easily transferable. I probably don't realise quite how much experience I've got at times until I sit back and reflect. Ultimately though, I still feel the same as I did when I joined, and with just as much passion.

"I'm quite a caring person and I think that helps if you do this job. When the job requires it, you switch and put your game face on, but there's also great camaraderie and I love that. You don't get those two opposing sides in every job and it's not a hardship coming into work.

"I like the spontaneity and unpredictability of being a firefighter; you think you're delivering fire safety at a school one minute, and the next, the bells go down and you're off to a house fire. It gets the blood pumping.

"There are times when it's traumatic and unpleasant and it can be upsetting, but you appreciate it's part of the job and have the crew around you for support. When you're a firefighter, you meet people in distressing situations but it's in these situations you know you've really had an impact on someone's life.

"Firefighting is the only job I've ever had that's tested me physically, which is another reason I enjoy it.

"As you climb the career ladder you don't get as physically involved on the frontline, which is what I find the most fun at the moment. One day maybe I'll be ready for that but for now, I still love riding the back of the fire engine and love all the things that make this job appealing to me."

Mark explains that firefighting is who he is and how his family have always been supportive: "I think my family are proud of me and my son definitely is. When he was younger he used to go around the playground telling everyone his dad was a firefighter. I think my own dad is just happy I have a career and a pension!"

So what advice does he have?

"If you're thinking about joining the Service, you have to be dedicated and committed to the job. It becomes part of your life and you have to make sure your family and partner buy into it as well, especially when you're working shifts. It is a job that you take home with you and it affects everyone.

"Being a firefighter becomes your whole world. I've become Mark the firefighter - it becomes part of your identity. It gets mentioned when people talk about you and I quite like that. It reflects the fact that you're doing something that makes a difference in the community. It's something that's just a little bit special."