For 29 year-old on-call firefighter Liam Davies, from Kington in Herefordshire, the fire service has always been a part of his life.
From an early age Liam remembers his Dad, also a firefighter at Kington Fire Station, being called out to attend incidents at all times of the day and night, but to Liam that was just normal growing up.
Liam’s Dad, 64-year old Andrew ‘Smokey’ Davies, always hoped that Liam would want to follow him and join the fire service, however, it was actually a good friend of Liam’s who proved to be the catalyst to him joining Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS).
Liam said: “Dad has always been really passionate about the fire service and a very positive influence on my life. Growing up he tried to gently persuade me to join, however, it wasn’t until myself and a group of friends went away to a festival in Newquay that my decision was made. One of the group I was with was an on-call firefighter, and it was actually her enthusiasm and stories that persuaded me to join.”
Liam has been an on-call firefighter based at Kington Fire Station for 5 ½ years, a job he manages to combine with a career working full-time for British Telecom, a position he’s held for the last 11 years. Andrew, has been a firefighter with HWFRS for more than 41 years and at the age of 64 is showing no signs of slowing down, combining his fire service duties with working as a fire and security alarm technician with Mark Bishop Fire and Security in Bicton nr Leominster.
Andrew said: “I’m so proud to be working with my son, and that I’m able to pass on my 40 years of experience to him, as well as sharing new experiences together. However, I also learn from him as a different generation about how he approaches situations. When we’re at work family life is left at home and pure professionalism kicks in, all the crew is treated equally knowing that we all have each other's backs.”
The father and son firefighting duo were recognised last year by HWFRS after they both received a Commendation from HWFRS’s Chief Fire Officer for rescuing a mother and child from a car during the February floods of 2020. Andrew also received a long service award last year to mark 40 years in the service which he says was one of the proudest moments of his life.
The strong bond between the pair is demonstrated further, as not only do they work together but Liam has bought a house with his partner directly opposite his Dad’s!
The firefighting bug is spreading to another generation of the Davies family too. Liam’s nephew and Andrew’s grandson, George aged two, is obsessed with all things firefighter related and is a regular visitor to the fire station. Andrew said: “He was bought a uniform and helmet last Xmas and he barely takes if off – he loves coming to the fire station. The first time he saw a real engine he was totally overwhelmed by the size and the loudness of the siren after playing with his little toy engines for such a long time. It’ll be a few years yet but we’re looking forward to welcoming him to our other fire family!”
On-call firefighters combine their roles with other careers, or roles at home, providing a vital service to the community in which they live and work. Some work for local businesses, others are self-employed, while others are home-makers – but all enjoy the balance of their firefighter commitments with their other responsibilities, and the extra income too, knowing that they are Saving More Lives.
To learn more about becoming an on-call firefighter, visit www.hwfire.org.uk/on-call