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Fire officer reaches 40 year milestone

A Cambridgeshire fire officer has celebrated four decades of dedicated service to the community.

Station Commander Clive Allen, currently one of the Service’s officers working in the On-call Group, reached the milestone of 40 years as an operational firefighter and celebrated with officers and staff at Chatteris Fire Station, one of the stations he manages. He was presented with his long service certificate by Area Commander Stuart Smith.

Clive began his firefighting career as an 18-year-old, joining his local station in Littleport as an on-call firefighter. He now manages the station, along with three other on-call stations in Fenland, bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to his on-call and wholetime colleagues alike.

Like many firefighters, joining as an on-call firefighter at his local station inspired Clive to explore a career change and take up a wholetime role. Leaving behind his job as a telecommunications engineer, he joined Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service in 2005, serving at Kings Lynn station before transferring to Cambridgeshire in 2010, as part of a High Potential Leadership Programme.

During his career, Clive has taken a number of roles, beginning with a brief spell at Dogsthorpe and then Stanground in Peterborough as watch commander for three years. He then moved to Cambridge in 2013, serving on black and green watches, before moving into an operational resilience role at Service Headquarters in 2017. He then progressed to his current role in 2018.

Clive said: “I still find hard to believe that I’ve been a firefighter for 40 years, it has absolutely flown by.

“I was keen to join my local station as soon as I could and started the process when I was 17, but I didn’t think it would turn into such a rewarding career. I love being a member of the emergency service as a firefighter and being there to help people, that has always been the most rewarding part to know that you are making a difference when people need you most.

“Although I had a successful career as a telecoms engineer, as well as being an on-call firefighter, I saw there was an opportunity to make it my full time job, I went for it and haven’t looked back. Whilst being a wholetime firefighter I continued to be on-call as well until I became an officer. Even now, on the odd occasion when there is a crewing need, I can be found riding a fire engine to support the crew.

“Being a firefighter is such a rewarding career, which I would recommend to anyone. It is hard work and presents many different challenges, which is why it is so rewarding. 

Clive shows no sign of retiring. He celebrated his milestone by showing one of his crews that he still has what it takes, by passing the Service’s fitness test on the very day he achieved 40 years service.

He added: “I still love coming to work every day and enjoy what it brings me. I am very lucky to work in a great team and manage some of the most dedicated people you could ever want. I am certainly not looking to hang up my helmet anytime soon.”

Clive began his career by joining his local fire station as an on-call firefighter, who responded to emergencies around their other life commitments. On-call firefighters are not based at a fire station, they will often have other jobs, or family duties and carry a pager and respond to emergency incidents as and when they happen. When they are on-call they may be at home, working for themselves or for a nearby company, or out in their local community (staying within a five-minute travel time of the fire station).

The Service is always looking to recruit on-call firefighters, so if you are interested in finding out more, visit our careers section.

News 2023