As part of our Uniforms on Duty series, we spoke to Aoife in Dublin. Her son Ollie, thrives when he’s with his heroes.
“Mummy, Mummy, there was smoke!”
I often hear this from my five-year-old son Ollie when he gets home from school. When he says it I act shocked and say “Oh no, a fire? I hope everyone is okay!” He laughs and replies “Don’t worry, the Firemen were only training.”
We’re lucky enough to live just a five-minute walk from the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre. It’s close to Ollie’s school as well, so he can often see training exercises taking place when he’s out in the yard at break time.
For a boy who is utterly fascinated with Firefighters, you couldn’t ask to live in a better place. As well as the training centre, we have several fire stations locally. During lockdown, we’d decide which one to visit on a given day. Ollie would dress up in his Firefighter costume and we’d head off to have a look at our chosen station. Of course, we couldn’t go in because of Covid, but some of the crew always came out to talk to him.
Ollie is usually quite shy with adults. He’ll often ask me to answer for him or speak for him. But this is never the case when he meets Firefighters. If they talk to him, he’ll answer with a big spiel and half an hour later we could still be there. He trusts them. Probably because in all our visits, nobody has ever asked him to leave or rushed him.
Ollie wears his Firefighter costume everywhere. I let him, because what’s the harm? If it’s cold, I just make sure he has a jacket underneath to keep warm. He has the Dublin Fire Brigade crest embroidered on his jacket and the crest from my local fire station at home in Clare on his trousers.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of attention Ollie gets when he’s out and about wearing his uniform. I don’t mean this in a self-important way: it’s just the way it is! We were in Smyths recently and a man from Dublin Fire Brigade approached us to ask where we had got the costume. A lot of Firefighters have come up to us and said how lovely it is to see Ollie getting so excited about their job.
In October, Dublin Fire Brigade was involved in an abseiling fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House. Lots of exciting things happened that day, but Ollie was especially thrilled to spot a female Firefighter. “Look Mummy,” he shouted, “You can be a Firefighter too!”
I don’t think that’s on my agenda for now, but I’m happy to keep encouraging Ollie for as long as he holds on to his firefighting dreams.
If you have a story that you would like to share with us about your little uniform on duty, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org You can find out more about the series and how easy it is to get involved over at Uniforms on Duty
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