“When people are running away from the danger, we’re running towards the danger.”
Lucy Masoud – firefighter and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) London Regional Official – on life as a firefighter.
What does the day-to-day job of a firefighter look like?
“No two days are ever the same. There are certain routines we have to do when we get to work, like checking our equipment, training, but we’re always ready if there is an emergency.”
“The nature of our job has changed. Whereas years ago, we were just expected to deal with fires, now we deal with a lot more than that, we deal with fires, flooding, car crashes, any kind of emergency. You have to be ready to tackle whatever is put at your door on that particular day.”
Is it just emergencies you deal with?
“We also visit people’s houses and we do home fire safety visits. We make sure their homes are safe, we check their fire alarms, we install smoke alarms if need be and we have a lot more engagement with the general public than we used to.”
How do you think firefighters are viewed by the general public?
“I think we’re very well respected by the public. On the few occasions that we’ve been forced to go on strike we always get members of the public pulling over and offering us support, trying to offer us donations.”
“The public see what sacrifices we make, they see that in cases of emergency, in cases of fire, when people are running away from the danger, we’re running towards the danger.”
“They understand that every single day we go to work we are putting our lives on the line and I think people appreciate that.”
What is your relationship like with local communities?
“With the Grenfell disaster, the Fire Brigades Union were there on the day and we’ve pretty much been there every day since. Not just to offer support to our brave firefighters but also importantly offering the community support with any campaigns, organisation or finance they need. We’re making sure that we’re very visible, that we’re keeping in contact with them. Maybe we can’t do much but we need to be there just in case we can.”
“The community at Grenfell were so supportive of the firefighters. Since it’s happened we’ve had nothing but support and love from them. Considering what they’ve been through, it’s amazing that they’re still able to show us love and respect and send us cards and welcome us whenever we’re there.”