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A day in the life of Glenn McMahon - Fire Services Manager

What’s the focus of your current role? What is your purpose?

As the fire services manager it is my job to ensure our team is always ready to respond to an emergency 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I am also responsible for ensuring all our equipment is always ready to go at a second’s notice. Obviously, I can’t do this alone. As firefighters, we have a very strong team culture. We all need to know we can count on each other when things get tough. We have a “failure is not an option” attitude. We could potentially be helping someone who is having the worst day of their lives. That responsibility is not lost on us.

My job is to bring the team together. I can only do this if we have mutual trust and respect. This aspect of my job is particularly satisfying and rewarding.

What do you typically do in a full day’s work?

8am-9am

At 8am, I arrive at work. The first thing I do is check my emails and my calendar to see if anything needs my immediate attention. I place a lot of importance on sitting down with the crew and having a brew. This is when I can touch base with the team and find out how everybody is doing. Any issues or concerns are raised so I can deal with them.

9am – 12pm

No two days are the same in my role, I never know what is going to happen. I spend a lot of time coordinating the station records and compliance requirements. There is a lot of emphasis around policies and procedures. My job is to ensure these are always up to date. I have a great team that helps me with this requirement. We work with state-of-the-art equipment such as specialist aviation and structural firefighting appliances, breathing apparatus, gas detectors and lots of other specialist equipment in our “toolbox”. All this equipment must always be maintained to the highest standard as lives may depend on how well we do our job.

The Rosenbauer Tigon is our aviation fire appliance. This vehicle is massive. It carries 9000l of water and 3500l of foam. If there is an aviation incident our vehicle must be able to deal with it. There are no fire hydrants on the airfield so we have to take all of our firefighting agent (water and foam) with us. We can put most of the fire without leaving the truck as we have a roof mounted turret with a monitor (water cannon). We have the be careful we don’t use it to quickly. We can empty our water tank in about 90 seconds if we are not careful. We also carry a wide array of rescue equipment. The Tigon is 6 wheel drive and capable of driving off road in difficult conditions. We also use a Combined Fire Rescue vehicle (CFR) with is specialised for structural firefighting. This vehicle carries 2800l of water and is used for calls to building fires. It the usual fire vehicle you would see driving around the city.

Additionally, we have a command vehicle that carries 400l of water with an ultra-high pressure pump. We use this vehicle to get into tight spaces and fight small fires like bin fires. This vehicle is also used by the crew commander when there is an aviation incident. This gives the ability to move around a large area quickly. 

12pm

Lunch time. One of the time-honoured traditions of a fire station is to sit around a table and share a meal with your teammates. We talk about all sorts of things, any subject is fair game and there is no rank involved. This is a great way to get to know what is going on both in the fire station and in each other lives. Being a firefighter is like working with family.

1pm – 5pm

I never know what is going to happen. We may have an essential piece of equipment become unserviceable which requires my full attention to find a solution quickly to get the back up online. I may have a meeting with other stakeholders. Or we may have a major emergency which requires all hands on deck. I must be ready for anything at any time. I also like to get out and meet the other stakeholders to see if they have any concerns. We conduct regular drills and training exercises where we practice our skills. This ensures we always maintain a sharp edge. We all take immense pride in being good at our jobs.

5pm

It’s the end of the day! I like to go home and relax. I am bit of a gamer and love spending time in my flight simulator cockpit with my VR goggles. I also love to play the piano and sing a few tunes to annoy my neighbours. Some evenings I head out into town with a few of the guys from work.