Firefighter focus: Black History Month

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is keen to support Black History Month this October, marking the achievements and contributions of Black people in all walks of life.

The Service took this opportunity to put together a profile piece about Corby firefighter Fitzy Jacobs, who has served just under 20 years with the Service.

Fitzy reflected back on his long career and on some of his proudest moments and memories, as well as discussing why it has been so important for him to support Black History Month.

Profile: Firefighter Fitzy Jacobs

“Passing my probation and finally being able to start work in the Fire Service was my proudest moment, I had tears in my eyes when that happened,” Fitzy Jacobs said, reflecting back on almost 20 years served with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The son of parents who immigrated from St Vincent in the West Indies, Fitzy was born and brought up in Coventry.
His career with NFRS started when he was aged 39 and had already had a long career with the British Army, having served with them for 12 years

He remembered: “On leaving the Army, the biggest choice seemed to be between the Fire Service, Police or Ambulance Service. I thought I was too old to enter the Fire Service but my sister, who works in careers, told me it was possible to enter the Fire Service at any age and that there was no longer an age limit.”

As someone with dyslexia, Fitzy feels he had his own challenges with the Fire Service’s recruitment tests, but was extremely proud when he passed probation and finally earned a place at Corby Fire Station.

Now 57, his firefighting career has been spent prinicipally working from Corby, where he has seen the job change as the years have rolled by, with an increasing focus on delivering fire prevention advice to people in the community.

It is his work’s impact on the community that makes Fitzy most proud.

He said: “I know there are people walking around Corby and I was there to help rescue them and I didn’t realise how good that would feel, it really does.

“When you get a bad incident and you get someone out and they have to go to hospital and then you find out the next day they are alright… you feel proud you were able to help.”

He was pleased to have had the opportunity to reflect back on his own history in the Fire Service as part of Black History Month.

He said: “It is so important to support Black History Month. It is virtually in the last few years we have started to hear much more about what Black people did and give them the recognition for it. There were times you weren’t allowed to hear about that and it seems a lot of Black history has been erased.”

NFRS is proud of all its staff but during Black History Month, NFRS particularly recognises the outstanding achievements and contributions of all our Black staff and firefighters.

NFRS supports and welcomes diversity in all aspects of its recruitment. The Service is currently recruiting On-Call firefighters and would like to hear from applicants from a variety of backgrounds. To find out more, see: www.oncallfire.uk

To hear more from Fitzy Jacobs, see:

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