Watch Commander Graham Morgan

It was after serving two years at his village on-call fire station when Graham knew he wanted to be a wholetime firefighter and wanted to ultimately climb the ladder to watch commander rank.

He reminisces: "I always looked up to my watch commanders as role models and knew I'd want to be that person one day.

"I still enjoy riding the fire engines and that's my problem as to why I don't necessarily want to go any higher."

But Graham hasn't spent his whole career on a watch. He also spent a number of years in community fire safety, focusing on business fire safety and enforcement.

"I really enjoyed the fire protection part of my career. I have a natural interest in buildings, how they work and building construction," he explains.

"What I like about the operational side of firefighting is not knowing what's going to happen next when the bells go down. It's about pulling on all your knowledge and experience to deal with the numerous challenges you face as an officer in charge at an incident."

Graham explained how road traffic collisions are the type of job that, for him, give the greatest sense of achievement.

He says: "You understand the real meaning behind why we do what we do when you've done the job and come away knowing you've made a real difference. You get much more out of a job like a road traffic collision than just putting out a bin fire or garden shed. To physically assist someone who is trapped in their car and get them out so they can get the medical help they need; you know you've made a big difference to that person."

Caring, understanding and thoughtful are just some of the traits Graham thinks are important in a firefighter.

"I'm not a believer in having to be big and strong to be a firefighter. We have people from all different walks of life and everyone has different qualities," he comments.

"As a manager, you pick out people's strengths and use your crew to your advantage."

As he enters the last few years of his career, Graham said is happy to have achieved his ultimate goal of becoming a leader on a watch.

He reflects: "There are only two jobs I ever wanted in the fire service: firefighter or watch commander. It can be hard work at times looking after a watch but it's a responsible post that I really enjoy.

"I pull on the experience of the crew and listen to them but probably the most testing bit is sometimes keeping everyone going in the same direction. But I like a challenge."

So with a lifetime of firefighting under his belt, would Graham recommend the job? "I think the job has changed a lot but ultimately, it's still about the big red fire engines going out the door to save lives.

"It's still a good job and the prospects are good if you're prepared to put the work in and have the commitment. The chances are there if you want them to be.

"You don't do this job to be rich but if you want job satisfaction and to work in an environment full of challenges, then this is the job for you."