Fire chief thrives on challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:22 19 April 2007 | UPDATED: 15:05 12 May 2010

Rad Bristow

Rad Bristow

A FIREFIGHTER who has been in the service for 14 years has been appointed station commander at Royston Fire station. Rad Bristow, 36, was previously sub officer at Watford Fire Station for four-and-a-half-years but decided to pursue a new challenge. As y

A FIREFIGHTER who has been in the service for 14 years has been appointed station commander at Royston Fire station.

Rad Bristow, 36, was previously sub officer at Watford Fire Station for four-and-a-half-years but decided to pursue a new challenge.

"As you get older you see a position and decide you want to have a go at it and work your way up," he said.

"I've always liked a challenge and I like the extra responsibility."

He said one of the biggest changes he had experienced since his move to Royston was the type of incidents because of the rural location.

"In Watford you had the M1 and M25 nearby, but in Royston you get a lot of field and thatch fires you wouldn't get in Watford," he said.

At Royston, Rad is responsible for 21 firefighters - 12 full-time and eight part-time.

Rad, who lives in Hitchin, has attended many big incidents, such as Buncefield, and he was in charge of an appliance at the Hatfield rail crash in 2000.

"It's not every day you attend a major incident," he said.

But he said the main highlight of his career was been being promoted and coming to Royston, and the challenges he faces now.

Some of his other roles within the Herts Fire and Rescue Service include being the lead fire investigator for Hertfordshire and being involved with the New Dimension project - a Government response to terrorism.

"It's one of the most interesting things I have done," he said.

He is also a representative for the fire service athletics in track and cross country.

Rad joined the fire service in 1993 at the age of 22 after leaving the Royal Engineers in Ripon, north Yorkshire.

While in the Army he went to places such as the Falklands, Belize, Kenya, and Germany.

When asked if he would have gone to Iraq he said: "Like the fire service, you are there to do a job.

"It's dangerous, but you try to minimise the risks. They know what they are going into."

Rad began his fire career as an airport firefighter at Hatfield airport.

"It was a way into fire fighting and enabled me to join a local authority," he said.

"At the airport the fire engines are amazing, but in local authority there's more opportunities to do the job you're trained for."

He joined a local authority fire brigade at St Albans before becoming the lead fire officer at Cheshunt.

He then returned to St Albans before being promoted at Watford to sub officer.

"The fire service is something that I've always been interested in, and I have had so many opportunities since I've joined," Rad said.

"Every day is different and is fantastic. I have enjoyed every job I have done in the fire service and I miss each one.

"The professionalism is fantastic because all the people have joined for a reason. They want to help people.

"And when you get the opportunity to turn their day around and put a smile on their faces it makes it all worthwhile.

- If anyone living in Royston or the surrounding villages would like a free home fire safety check call 0800 587 3347 or visit www.hertsdirect.org/fire

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