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When Tiarna-Ann joined the Brigade it was because she wanted a career for life, not just a job.
"I wanted a career that I would be proud of and where I could serve my community. As a young Carer, I saw first hand with my Grandmother, who has dementia, how easy it is for those who are the most vulnerable in our communities to accidentally start a fire."
Before joining the Brigade Tiarna-Ann had already overcome some significant obstacles in her life;
"I had severe Epilepsy and suffered immensely with seizures which lead to me having brain surgery. Passing my post-surgery medical was one of my toughest but most personally motivating experiences. I am also 5’1 and female, which is still seen by many as a disadvantage in lots of physical fields today. I wanted to motivate and inspire others to overcome whatever obstacles they faced, after facing my own."
This experience of a severe medical condition, along with competing as an athlete, has given Tiarna-Ann the empathy and resilience which make for a great firefighter;
"Being an international athlete and competing regularly has had an influence on my overall resilience to feeling nervous in uncertain situations. Overcoming my severe Epilepsy and managing with the uncertainty of the condition, also helped prepare me for dealing with the intense emotional aspect of physical trauma we often encounter at scenes. A lot of the time on the way to an incident, you don’t know what you are going to have to deal with but in order to offer the help required, a key aspect of the role of a firefighter is to remain calm and considerate.
"My openness with others and being able to empathetically discuss traumatic incidents that I had previously encountered, has been a key way in which I calmly process these experiences and ensures I can continue to perform my job as a firefighter and provide essential emotional and mental support, as well as execute the physical part of my role. It was vital when experiencing my first fatality at a scene and continues to develop daily."
As one of our more recent recruits we wanted to know how Tiarna-Ann felt about representation in the Brigade;
"I have noticed the concerted effort in terms of recruitment to get more Black people into the role of a firefighter within LFB and this has been positive, however it still needs to be highlighted that there are Black people already within the Brigade, not only to retain and motivate current Firefighters, but to encourage those considering a public service role. I would be disappointed to find in 5-10 years from now, another young Black female was the only female on her watch or the only Black person in her whole station.
"I also want to see more Black people at all levels within the Brigade, demonstrating that LFB are making efforts to ensure a positive institutional change. That would only serve to motivate myself, and other black females who may be considering the LFB as a career."