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LFB Transfer


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Good Evening all. 

I hope we’re all well. Just a quick request for some information from the LFB bods amongst the forum please! 

I am looking at transferring to LFB, it’d be a new experience, a different chapter, always enjoyed the idea of working in the capital etc. but, a pretty big but, I am very comfortable in my current brigade. I am on fantastic watch, in a met brigade at a relatively busy two truck & aerial city centre station 10 minutes from my house where I live with my pregnant missus. However I do have my gripes with what the potential future may hold in my brigade but that’s for another post. 

So LFB members, realistically… what’s it like? I am very aware the grass isn’t always greener. Do you enjoy it? Are you treated well? Is watch culture still promoted? Are you always out s/by? Is it all AFAs & fitting smoke alarms? 

I’d be commuting, the easiest commute by a country mile & cheapest would be the train to Euston, so would only really want Euston or the surrounding that are within walking distance. Am I likely to get there or am I way off the mark, being far to fussy? Plus are you able to stay on station in between shifts? That’s a biggy. 

A lot of requests there I know, so any information at all would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers all!! 

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Personally, I feel like the watch culture is good here. I can imagine it will differ between station and watches, but I expect you will find that everywhere. I have a great relationship with my colleagues, before the Rona we would frequently go out as a group. I feel that most watches I encounter have a pretty good core of experienced members, with a healthy dose of newer firefighters.

I feel that I am fairly well treated. I think we still have a bit of an issue with devolvement of authority, in that I think that watch officers still aren't particularly trusted to do their jobs and can be over scrutinised, or that the station commanders (station managers) are relied on far too much by upper management. However I am a watch officer, so might be best having a firefighter respond to that aspect. 

If you get posted to a multi appliance station, at this point in time, it is doubtful you will see the pump on the run for the foreseeable future, at least on certain watches. At the moment, we are so hard up for people that specialist appliances such as the rescue units and aerials are not on the run due to personnel shortage.( This shortage isn't just us not having enough people, but also from sickness, self isolation etc.) If you do get a multi, there will be frequent standbys to go and put pump ladders on the run throughout the brigade. Looking forward, if we recruit en mass and fill some of these gaps and return to normalish levels, the standbys were fairly minimal, and if you were riding one over, there would only be one standby out. However, it looks like this won't be the case for a while to come. Expect to be on standby a lot at the moment. 

I can't really comment on how postings work for transferees. Recruits are asked where they live and I believe the team which deals with postings will try to accommodate them as much as possible. So asking for a station might be feasible, but I'm not sure I'd say it's a reliable tactic. I wouldn't say that there are any other stations than Euston Fr Stn that are within walking distance from Euston train station. But we have good public transport, Paddington is just down the line from Euston Square, and Soho in the other direction, with Whitechapel and Shoreditch not much longer away. 

The party line with staying on station is no. Many stations lack the capacity for this anyway, so you might base your decision off of that alone. Staying up Is not uncommon though, usually means you've got to ask the officer in charge nicely if you can stay, and then drag a mattress to a dingy cupboard out of the way. I can't say it's really struck me as a nice way to spend my time between shifts.

If you're worried about AFAs, they are Eustons speciality. I'm sure someone has the numbers but I think Euston is the most frequently mobilised pump ladder in London, and mainly to AFAs. But there are still plenty of other incidents to attend. Smoke alarms have dropped off a little bit due to obvious reasons, but previous to this, smoke alarms were a daily occurrence, at least two a day usually. 

All in all, I still enjoy going to work and all the good and bad that comes with it. I'm at a (apparently) busy multi, close to central London. I've only been in this brigade so can't compare to any others. But it's a bit of a pay rise if you do jump ship isn't it? 

Edited by Mike
Edit for clarification
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I haven't been operational for 100 years so am well out of touch. In fact @Mike's excellent account above was interesting to hear.

My comment will be limited to 1) What you hope to achieve and 2) The reality of long distance commuting

I did 32 years in the LFB and was lucky to get some amazing experiences that one could argue only London could provide. The LFB have stations, areas and communities that are unique - and I don't use that word lightly. But most stations could easily be replicated in any shire F&RS - Those in suburbia for example. Rows of 1930s houses, light industry and a shopping centre or two. I don't know where you are commuting from, but to drive 100+ miles and end up at Harrow, Barnet, Romford, Bromley or Kingston might not feel like London - if you get what I mean.

If you intend being in the LFB for many years, of course you can move to a more identifiably London stations and of course, promotion prospect are usually greater than smaller employers so there are definite wins too

I was local and the furthest I was posted was 20 miles from home. But I worked with scores of FFs who travelled from as far as Wales, Scotland and Spain. They dossed down in storerooms, hung about the streets between nights, often sleeping in cinemas(!) and slept on mates sofas. Brilliant when young, free and single - but not so much fun 10 years later when older and with a family perhaps?

 I most definitely could not have done that. I thought about it and looked at the Hampshire/Dorset borders. Sadly the story all the long distance guys tell you that their commute is "just over an hour" is a bloody myth. Frankly it would have been far too much to ask my wife to put up with and I didnt fancy 20 years of being a part time fire service vagrant. 

I know everyone is different, but it wasn't for me. Some long-distanters have confessed that the endless motorway miles and stress didnt always measure up to making the improvements to their lives they has envisaged. But others loved it and I have a few mates who have retired to beautiful parts of the UK follows years of commuting

I wish you all the best and hope you achieve your dream, but please do keep up stuff like this and research the move before committing to it  👍

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And therein lies the rub Messy. I too have considered this and i would love to work for the LFB. To be a “london firefighter” after all i grew up on londons burning. But when i say london i mean “bright lights and streets are paved with gold” london. So the ones like Euston, Soho, Shoreditch, Whitechapel etc. The young family and my station within 20 minutes commuting means its a non starter. Ive also suffered the hour commute to work for 19 months and hated every second

Ive seen social media posts and its easy to be seduced by the glitz and the label. Not to blow smoke up the arses of our southern counterparts but LFB holds the same allure that im sure the FDNY does. But like you said to travel x amount of miles to be posted to pretty much the same environment i was already in means it will always be a dream. Good luck to anyone that does go for it though, im sure you wont regret it

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Messy has it bang on the money. 

Not LFB but in a next door Brigade and know plenty of ex and serving LFBers.

I have a mate at ours who still longs to go back to Paddington despite having a young family and at a station much closer to home. Another always speaks fondly of Shoreditch and still tinkers with the idea. (Going back however, even to the same place, rarely lives up to the memories. Life just doesn't work that way, it can be great, but it's never an exact replication)

Another at my retained station is at Erith, Bromley a bit before that, and his experience there sounds very familiar to mine in terms of busyness and quality of shouts.

There is definitely a mystique about the "proper London" stations. I was a hairs breadth from joining LFB myself and do sometimes wonder.

I'm in similar circumstances to you at a multi pump and aerial station that gets decent shouts and an excellent bunch of people to work with. We're trying for a family right now and, seeing all my mates with young families, the absolute last thing I'd want to do is make life more complicated just for it's own sake when I've got it so good right now, especially if there's no guarantee where and who you would end up with. 

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I’m currently at what was described as a “proper London” station and also commute. You’ll find quite a few FF in central stations do the commute. For me it’s worth it. I’ve been on some incidents you would not get elsewhere due to central and iconic location. You rarely find a firefighter in central London that doesn’t want to be there which is also a massive boost. I definitely feel a massive amount pride in being a London firefighter there’s just something about it. I’ve toyed with transferring out myself but I grew up in London, spent most of my life there and although I no longer live in London, I always want to work there.

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Im now an old fart but after 24 years in West Mids I do completely understand the attraction of working in central London.  I know a few West Mids lads who transferred down and love it.  I also considered it before kids came along and wouldn’t have cared about dossing down on a station broom cupboard floor… but alas that outlook has gone and would now fill me with dread.

Another point to add is that I absolutely love my job in FI.  I’m now in my 11th year doing it and that’s a reason in itself for me not to move.  

best of luck whatever you decide.  Life is too short to have regrets 👍

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On 16/12/2021 at 22:48, SB6089 said:

I am on fantastic watch, in a met brigade at a relatively busy two truck & aerial city centre station 10 minutes from my house

Catch yourself on!  Why would you want to move from a setup that almost everybody craves for.

I can understand the lure of wanting to work for the best known brigade in the country, but from you own admission you want an easy commute and a posting to a busy inner city station. The reality would be that LFB would post you to where they need you. Also your changing family circumstances would possibly suggest if you were currently working for LFB you be looking to transfer closer to home. I'd be staying put. 😉

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I honestly don't blame people for wanting to transfer to the big smoke. There's no way I'd put anyone off doing it if it was something they really wanted to do. There are experiences you simply won't get anywhere else, even in another met brigade. You certainly do have to take into consideration how it will affect your family life though. For a young singleton or someone who's kids are grown up and flown the nest, it's a no brainer. Anywhere between though and it's a hardship and ultimately why I left for the north. That said many guys I know have young families and commute unthinkable distances and it seems to work for them. The fact that the London weighting is now pensionable also makes it a sound financial move as well, especially if you're thinking of promotion (but with that in mind, you won't feasibly go above Stn/O if you live far away). 

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