Eddie Afonso   

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Eddie Afonso   

Airport Rescue and Firefighter | Ports of Jersey

What does a typical day look like for you?

On a long day, 12-hour shift, we start at 5:40 am our first task is to do daily inspection of both our fire kit and breathing apparatus and our fire appliances (Fire engine). We then go out and do runway/taxiways and stands inspections on the airfield, after this we ready to go. Depending on your position for the day you can be in one of the two response appliances. 

Domestic appliance: As part of your daily role, you will respond to first aid call outs, fire alarm activations, small aircraft incidents and will do runway inspections throughout the day.

Bird Control: You take turns to drive around the airfield making sure that birds don’t aggregate around or on the runway.

Both crews will do daily checks of equipment, use the gym, do some self-study, and go out on training exercises.

On our evening shifts we usually have lectures to be up to date with the CAA regulations.  

How did you get your job? / What training, degree, education do you need? 

I finished school many years ago with the equivalent of A levels, I also obtained a Level 3 NVQ’s in Health and Social Care/ Special needs support worker and did a level 3 SVQ as a Prison Officer. I come across my job on GOV.je, it was something that interested me, the role variety, the challenges that it poses and opportunities to progress my career. As I started reading what was needed for the role, I noticed that I had built during my career a varied number of skills that where transferable for the role of Airport Rescue and Firefighting. Upon being successful in getting the job, I have done 3 weeks in house training to learn the basic skills. I then completed my emergency fire appliance driving, wildlife management, first aid and breathing apparatus to name a few. I just returned from Newcastle International Firefighting school where I completed my training as an Airport Firefighter.

What are the most important skills needed for your role/job? 

Be physical fit, able to think on your feet, be committed to safety, be able to work as part of a team, flexible, discipline and be confident.

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role? 

We are always learning and improving. As part of our role, we have several lectures and exercises that we need to complete monthly to keep up to date with tactic and techniques of rescue and firefighting. On a personal level as I have ambition to progress on my career I will need to continue to study. The next step will be enrolling on the leading firefighter course and get a few instructorship roles.

What is the best part of your job? / What motivates you in this role?

I enjoy fire training and rescue. We have a fire rig, shaped like an aircraft and we can simulate different fires situations, smoke environment and rescues of passengers, we also have extensive first aid training. 

Due to my shifts, I get a very good balance of family/work life. 

You could say what motivates me in this role is the not knowing! Be ready for anything and pray that nothing happens!

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession? 

I would say for people to do some research work. Call the station, pop in for an informal chat. If you believe this is for you and you have the qualities needed for the role, apply. Get yourself fit, a big number that stumble on the blip test and if you fail you are out! Start you HGV license, isn’t a requirement, but if you hold a license you get to drive our awesome fire appliances. If people don’t have any first aid experience do a basic course in first aid/life support and if you have some interest in aviation, you will get access to some cool aircraft and helicopters. 

What would you tell your younger self? 

I would tell my younger self to travel more… I would have loved to travel the world, but, I still have time…

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