Self-employed hairdresser Teresa Claxton is paid to protect her community as an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station.
She received a leaflet through her door one day from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service advertising an on-call firefighter role in Great Baddow and decided to apply.
She said: “It took me a whole year to get to the fitness standard but it was lockdown so I had plenty of time to train. You’ve got to get fit for the role. I had to learn to run, learn to lift and getting up the ladders has been a challenge climbing that height. But I’ve done it, and it’s the best job.
“The role is exhilarating, every day has been a challenge but it’s good, I like a challenge. Being an on-call firefighter is the polar opposite to being a hairdresser.
“It fits in really well with my job. I work for myself so I can provide cover for whatever hours are needed to fill in the gaps. There’s not a lot of worries for me during the day at the moment, but it works out that I provide cover two days a week and every evening and night.
“I’ve had great support from everyone I’ve met within the service and this has really helped to build my confidence and encourage me to continue even when I’ve had doubts.
“I’ve covered all kinds of topics which I’d never given a thought to before, such as electricity and shipping!”
If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Teresa, you could be an on-call firefighter.
Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb