A former energy expert picks up a fire hose

A former energy expert has put down his spreadsheets and picked up a fire hose as he begins a new career as a firefighter in Tyne and Wear.

Mark Ede is responding to emergencies across the region in his new life-saving role with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

But the 40-year-old’s career path has been anything but straightforward after two decades in the workplace.

Mark previously worked in a variety of roles including asbestos surveyor, project manager as well an asset manager at a local council and holds a master’s degree in earth and environmental science.

Despite enjoying his career, the father of two wanted to work closely in his local community and four years ago he joined County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) as an on-call firefighter.

The Consett native responded to emergencies out of Consett Community Fire Station alongside his full-time role.

But after catching the bug for keeping communities safe, he applied for a wholetime role in Tyne and Wear.

Mark was successful in his application and is now based out of Gateshead Community Fire Station after recently passing a nine-week course.

The firefighting recruit, who still works as an on-call firefighter in Consett when he isn’t in his full time role, said he has been made to feel at home in our region.

Mark said “The environment of the recruits course was really positive alongside a great bunch of people, with knowledgeable instructors.

“It was different from my on-call training as that was more staggered around my previous job whereas this was a more intense block of time dedicated to learning.

“I feel like my on-call role allowed me to see what life would be like as a whole-time firefighter and I’m glad I made the change.

“Even though CDDFRS is only a few miles away from my home station of Gateshead, the incidents we attend can be different as although Consett is a relatively large town, some of its surrounding areas are rural, bringing a different profile of risks and consequently the associated hazards.

“I feel really fortunate with my Station and my Watch as they have been extremely welcoming and it’s great to be in an area that I know pretty well due to my previous roles being based this way.

“I’m still part of my on-call watch so now it’s like a third family joining TWFRS, it means I can experience so many different things with both brigades and hopefully provide a little insight into how other services tackle problems.”

Today (Thursday) one of TWFRS’s most senior firefighters is praising Mark for making such a big career change.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay said “Becoming an on-call firefighter is a great way of getting to know the fire service and finding out if being a firefighter is for you.

“It really can inspire you to change your life just like it did with Mark and I’m glad that he has found a home with us and is enjoying his role.

“We are always on the look out for people who can bring new ideas and ways of thinking to the fire service because it helps us grow as an organisation.

“There is no perfect career path to becoming a firefighter, but if you’ve got the passion for your community, we can help to develop you into a great firefighter through our recruits course and when you are out on station.

“I have no doubt that Mark’s experience as an on-call firefighter and the variety of incidents he has faced with CDDFRS will help him in his career with us.”

TWFRS are currently recruiting for operationally competent firefighters, crew managers, and watch managers.

This means if you have firefighting experience and would like to join the service, you can apply via their website today.

If you would like to register your interest for future TWFRS firefighter recruitment campaign, you can do so via their website.