A FIREFIGHTER inspired by memories of his step-father preparing for emergency call outs has said he knew that was the kind of person he wanted to be.

Gideon Ring, now an on-call firefighter at Kidlington Fire Station, grew up in a house right next to the station where his step-father worked and had a front row seat to the action.

He said: "The familiar soundscape would play out like clockwork, so well-rehearsed that you could practically set your watch to it. I would hear the beep-beep beep-beep and the harsh vibration of his pager and begin counting down in my head. 60, 59, 58…

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"By the time I had gotten to 45 - shoes had been pulled on, keys jangled into a hand or pocket, and then a cascade of front doors thumping shut could be heard all around our close.

"About a minute later, there would be a whoosh and a dieseling roar as the fire engine would launch itself from the station, swinging across the forecourt."

He added: "While the jobs weren’t always dangerous or exciting, the crews prepared themselves to work in and witness situations that most people can hope to experience only once or twice in a lifetime, and were willing to insert themselves into those moments with the purpose of rescuing, reassuring, and serving those who could not do so for themselves."

Oxford Mail:

Kidlington Fire Station. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Ring said he knew that was the kind of person he wanted to be and became an on-call firefighter in March, 2015 as a second job during his first year of an engineering apprenticeship at Oxford University.

He described the recruitment process as 'a little daunting' at first with mental and physical tests but while 'definitely challenged' everything was 'achievable'.

He added: "The basic training was fun and engaging. I learned how to do things which I had never done before, such as tying knots to secure and haul equipment."

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The role receives the same training as full-time firefighters but instead of being based at a fire station they are called out to respond to incidents when alerted.

Mr Ring's first blue light incident was at sheltered accommodation associated with a local mental health hospital.

He said: "We were called to a fire started by a cigarette butt in a waste paper bin. When we arrived, it was chaos.

"The fire hadn’t actually caused much damage and had been extinguished by the occupant of the room.

"However, the other residents had been scared by the smoke and alarms, and many of them were running about followed by staff, police officers, and paramedics who were trying to ensure that nobody had been hurt."

Oxford Mail:

He and a crewmate checked there were no other people still in the house and then sawed up some of the floorboards to check for possible unseen fire spread.

Mr Ring said working as a firefighter has had a 'huge impact' on his life, saying: "In return for the time dedicated, I have developed a strong sense of confidence in myself and my abilities.

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"I have made good friends and shared some great moments, as well as meeting members of the public who have been kind, helpful, and generous both towards my crew and those we are called to help."