Darren Wilson, one of our Technical Instructors, has been with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service for 20 years and has loved every minute of it!
During his final year of school, Darren already had his heart set on joining the Fire Service,
“I remember everyone around me talking about university or college and I said nothing because I knew I was going to join the Fire Service. It is all I ever wanted to do since I was a young boy, and I was adamant that I would make it come true”
From his beginnings in Llanelli Fire Station, to Swansea Central, Darren now works as the Service’s Technical Rescue Instructor; facilitating Water Rescue and working at height training, as well as on-call Crew Manager at Gorseinon Fire Station.
“In a nutshell, I live and breathe everything Fire Service - when I am not instructing, then I am on-call, and I genuinely love every minute of it”.
“On a serious note, my job as Technical Instructor means that I ensure our rescuers are trained to the highest standards; to ensure that their training remains current; and ensure we all adhere to the highest safety standards.
As a Service, all of our firefighters are trained to meet Level 1 Safe Work at Height standards, which offers basic skills, while Pontardawe Station is trained in Level 3 Rope Rescue capabilities. This includes 14 whole time firefighters, and 6 on-call firefighters. The core function of the level 3 Rope Team is to provide enhanced rescue capabilities, such as; scaling buildings and cliffs, building technical rope rescue systems across rivers, rescuer/rescue skills, and launching rescues over embankments to retrieve people or animals who are trapped”.
“In December 2017, on an exceptionally foggy night; facing gusts of wind, and pouring rain, we attended an incident in Cwm Ifan Bach, where a young spaniel went over the edge of the ravine. It was a 30 metre, straight drop, with a rapid and fast-flowing river below, with no way of his owner reaching him without endangering herself…
This is where we came in!
Along with crews from Swansea and Neath & Port Talbot, the crew from Pontardawe applied their Level 3 rope rescue skills to securely anchor the rescue lines above the drop, to safely lower the rescuers down into the ravine to retrieve the - by that point - very distressed spaniel. We safely retrieved the dog, without any harm caused to him or his owner.
This is the reason that I take so much pride in my job, because I know the skills that I teach gives our firefighters the capabilities and resilience to ensure the public’s safety”.
Having dedicated the past 20 years to the Service, Darren cannot stress enough just how important the support he receives from his family is:
“Every decision that I make career-wise is a joint decision between myself and my wife. There is no way that I could devote so much time to the Fire Service if it were not for the support system I have at home. Both my daughters are proud of my role as a Firefighter, my youngest daughter, Ffion, is my shadow, and talks about growing up to become a Firefighter just like ‘her daddy’.
It is an amazing feeling to have this level of job satisfaction, but if my family didn’t support my decisions then I wouldn’t be able to do what I do”.
If you would to find out more about what life is like as a Firefighter please visit our recruitment page on our website here