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Louise Crocker
Rob Greig

Quit your job, become a... firefighter

By Time Out London contributor

Louise Crocker, 43, firefighter at Heathrow Airport

What were you doing before you became a firefighter?

'I was a physical training instructor in the RAF for seven years. I left and did a few different jobs, but I missed the teamwork of service life. I found out that the fire service was recruiting for firefighters in my village. We did three weeks' preparation and were put on alert.'

It only took three weeks of training?

'I did three weeks and then on-the-job training. I really enjoyed it.'

And you work at Heathrow Airport now. What might your day look like?

'We cover everything within Heathrow's perimeter. So we deal with road traffic collisions on the outside, people trapped in lifts in the terminals, fires in the cleaning cupboard! It's a vast job. We cover medical emergencies as well, and the planes, obviously. The majority of the time we get two or three calls a day.'

In terms of safety, was being a firefighter a hard sell to your loved ones?

'Not really. People who know me know that's the way I am. I'm an outdoor-doing-things person, not a sit-behind-a-desk-with-an- email person. And it's a uniform job, which is what I've enjoyed doing before. I like the uniform, I like the camaraderie, I like the teamwork.'

What runs through your mind when you're firefighting?

'You train for every scenario, so the experience and the training just kicks in. Because you're going over that process, when something does happen, it allows you to feel like you've been there before.'

How do you unwind after a day of doing such a stressful job?

'Outdoor interests! I run ultramarathons. I do at least two hours training a day.'

You do ultramarathons in your down time?

'I've got a property business that I run as well, but you don't want to hear about that. It's all about being organised!

Hours: ‘42hrs p/w’

Starting salary: ‘£21,583’

Qualifications: ‘Not essential, but undergraduate courses exist’

By Sammy Robson. 

Or why not become a watchmaker?

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