Brain food: Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers - Watch commander, London Fire Brigade

Brain food: Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers - Watch commander, London Fire Brigade - Name Mark Gurney

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Name Mark Gurney

When did you become a manager? I joined the fire service at 18 and I've been here ever since - I'm 37 now. But I wasn't a manager until four years ago, when I became watch commander.

What does management mean to you? On duty, I'm responsible for 12 firefighters and two appliances, and it's my job to keep them all functioning properly. Teamwork is vital - we work in some very hostile environments where it really does save lives. When we arrive at an incident there are only a few seconds to make key decisions, so training is paramount - and we get it. We train for at least two or three hours a day and take regular off-site courses to learn new techniques. There are also local fire safety inspections to be done, and community work in schools and colleges - we're always busy.

What do you love/hate about it? I love the job satisfaction - it's fantastic. I hate being away from my family at Christmas, and I get frustrated by malicious emergency calls.

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