An Asda colleague at our Wheatley store is not only a member of our grocery team, but also a firefighter!
Amanda Patience, 30, is a member of the retained fire brigade, which means as soon as her pager makes a noise, she has to stop what she’s doing, drive the one minute to the local fire station, and save lives.
There are 18,000 retained firefighters in the UK, mostly based in rural areas. They only work when there is an emergency callout and for much of the time a retained fire station is unmanned.
Each retained firefighter carries a pocket alerter, which is activated when they are needed and they have a maximum of 5 minutes to report to the fire station and mobilise the necessary appliances.
On average retained fire fighters are called out 2 or 3 times a week for a couple of hours.
Amanda said: “I like working in the community, helping people and making a difference – which is why I trained to be a member of the fire service.
Retained firefighters are a vital part of today’s fire and rescue service.
Mark Keely, watch manager at Wheatley Fire Station, said: “The way Amanda manages it is excellent – she can be available at the drop of a hat to serve her community, and she’s also able to achieve everything she needs for her employer too.”
The Wheatley store have given Amanda special allowance to answer the emergency calls from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We can’t run an effective service without thoughtful employers, like Asda, so we really appreciate how we’ve been able to work together with them." Says Mark Keely.
Amanda says, “Our general store manager, Michael Turner, and deputy store manager, Jason Clark, have been unbelievable in their support."
And it's not just the store managers who are all for Amanada fighting fires...
“Customers are great too; sometimes I can be helping a customer when my pager buzzes and I have to quickly explain what that means. When they realise, they say ‘go, go, go’!
Michael Turner, general store manager at Asda Wheatley, said: “We want to support our colleagues in getting the right balance in their lives.
“Amanda is a great support to the store, customers and local community. She manages to juggle a full-time role here, a role with the fire service and her home life – she does it all very well.”
Amanda, who lives in Tetsworth, has worked at the Wheatley store for 14 years and began training to join to fire service in 2009. She continues to use her annual leave, as well as taking periods of unpaid leave, to allow her to attend extended training requirements.
Good on you, Amanda!