Station Commander Jamie Johnson

The fire service captured his attention at the age of just 14 when he saw a neighbour sprinting to the on-call fire station to respond to his alerter. Jamie became enthralled with the excitement of responding to fires, so much so, that in his teenage years he decided he wanted to make a career out of firefighting.

He says: "What drew me to the Service was the unpredictability and adrenalin. You could be doing anything, anywhere, and a call would come in. I also loved the camaraderie, friendships and team working. All of this I got out of being an on-call firefighter but I wanted to experience it on a daily basis."

Jamie was not accepted when he applied at 18 but later joined the on-call service while spending more than six years as a civil servant. Aged 26 he was accepted into Cambridgeshire's wholetime ranks, where he served as a firefighter at Dogsthorpe until he decided to apply for promotion.

He explains: "I really enjoyed being a firefighter and I love wearing breathing apparatus - it's the best part of the job for me - but I had already started acting up (standing in as a crew commander) when in the on-call service.

"I liked being in charge of incidents and the new sense of adrenalin being in charge of an incident possessed. I also like the responsibility and to see the successful conclusion of incidents.

"I applied for the promotion previously and was given feedback and development which I took on board. That ultimately meant I was able to improve and progress my way to watch commander in Cambridge - and I loved every minute of it."

Now, Jamie has been temporarily promoted to station commander - meaning he has jumped from the rank of firefighter, to station commander in just two years. "I like the operational side of things," he comments, "but there's the challenge of managing and developing people and since being a manager, I've really enjoyed the responsibility of doing that.

"I wasn't looking to go past watch commander level, but the Service approached and offered me this position so I'm willing to take on the challenge."

Jamie is a father of three and said it is important to strike a balance between work and family life.

He comments: "Who knows what the future holds. If I've got a taste for rank then I might try and go higher or maybe I'll think that station commander is enough. There's no pressure to move up and I have to take into account the work/life balance and looking after my family."

Jamie is responsible now for a station and says in the future he would like to become more involved with community fire safety.

"I like working with people and engaging with the community. When I was a firefighter it was great to see the young people's faces when we delivered a safety message to them in a new and exciting way."

"First and foremost, we are an operational responding Service, but if we can educate and assist people so they stop having these incidents then it can only be a good thing for the people of Cambridgeshire.

"You learn that although the primary objective is to respond to emergencies, there is a much wider, exciting, and bigger picture around the fire service. There are a huge range of activities that go on behind the scene including kitting out appliances, trialling new equipment and carrying out things like business risk inspections. And the on-call can get involved in as well," he concludes.