A LANDMARK birthday proved a catalyst for a bakery manager to sign up as an on-call firefighter.

“It was something that I had always wanted to do and when my 30th birthday came around I decided it was now or never,” said Lisa Cropper, who worked at Lawrance’s Quality Bakers in Pershore. .

“When I was young, I always used to go to fire station open days and this seemed the ideal opportunity."

Lisa joined Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service in April.

“I was surprised by the amount of training that I had to do,” she said. “There was so much and it was so in-depth with learning about the core skills, road traffic collisions, hazardous materials and breathing apparatus. I had to take quite a bit of time off from my job to fit it all in.

“But the first call that I went on was especially memorable because I was able to put into practice so many of the things I’d learned in my training. It was at the local tip and it was great to use all of those skills so early on – I’ve not had a call quite like that since.

“I had to work hard to get my fitness levels up, too. I had to go to the gym for six months as I was simply not physically fit enough. But I lost three stone and I got through first time so it was worthwhile.

“But I still go to the gym every night, if I can, to keep my fitness levels topped up.”

All 27 fire stations in Herefordshire and Worcestershire include on-call firefighters – men and women who are aged 18+, who live or work within five minutes of the fire station, and who can commit to being on-call.