Paul AllisonA Hampshire firefighter swapped his uniform for military camouflage recently on an exercise with the Royal Air Force, training in extreme cold weather survival and cross-country skiing in remote Norway.

When he’s not on duty as a firefighter with Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Paul Allison is a Gunner in the RAF Regiment Reserves specialising in infantry tactics, weaponry, fieldcraft and force protection to defend RAF assets.

As part of his training, the Lance Corporal took part in Exercise Wintermarch to develop his teamwork and leadership skills, as well as learning specific skills such as avalanche survival, crevasse rescue, first aid and basic mountain safety.

Clipping into his skis, Paul said: “Wintermarch is definitely the highlight of my reserves career so far. I wanted to do something different, and when we were skiing in extreme conditions with snow blowing in our faces, I thought, ‘this is just what I wanted’.”

Paul is also an immediate emergency care instructor in the fire service and has applied skills learnt in Iraq and Afghanistan to this role.

“A lot of civilian trauma care is taken from what we learnt on these deployments. The team medic course I’ve done with the Reserves transfers directly to my job in the fire service,” he said.    

Paul has served as a reservist for nine years. When he was deployed to Afghanistan, Hampshire Fire and Rescue gave him a year-long career break to fulfil his duties.