Senior Emergency Responder, Chemical Risk
My current role is a Senior Emergency Responder at the National Chemical emergency Centre (NCEC), which is part of the Technology, Tools and Solutions Practice. The role is a senior support position to our core team of emergency responders, which until the beginning of 2018 I was one of, who deal with over 8000 client calls every year. These are related to chemical incidents which range from accidental chemical exposures through to large industrial fires. My role is to use my experience and knowledge from being an ER to provide dedicated leadership and support to our current team. Within my current and previous role, I supported organisations in response to significant incidents and advised emergency services on hazardous materials.
As an ER you are also able to pick up various tasks to use your extensive chemical knowledge and the 4-6 months of chemical emergency response training which each responder gets. For me this has included writing white papers on interesting topics; authoring response guides for our chemical response databases and growing new business areas, such as the work we do with clients around Poison Centres. Now as a senior emergency responder I am getting involved in managing projects and several business development opportunities. Recently a lot of my focus apart from the SER role has been the development of our yearly hazardous materials response conference for emergency services.
The most enjoyable thing about the role I have is the variety and interesting nature of the calls we get on a daily basis. As a responder I may need to be reassuring a dog owner that her beloved pet will be okay, even if they have just eaten an insecticide one minute and then the next I am explaining to a fire fighter how best to deal with a burning chemical tanker involved in a road traffic collision.
As a wider company one of the best things about working at Ricardo Energy and Environment is the available support in career growth, the interesting shared knowledge throughout the company and genuine concern for employee improvement. When I started at Ricardo in 2015 one of the first things I did was join what is now known as the young professionals group. I recognised this as an important group for knowledge sharing across the company of people at a similar stage to me and a great networking forum to learn more about these individuals and their activities in other practices. Cross practice work is encouraged at REE and it is interesting how many projects or clients in one practice can need the services of another. If you are interested in numerous areas of the work the company does there is plenty of chances to support in several areas. I recently ran a webinar on chemical resilience which included discussion around some of the great project work the Water practice are undertaking.
It is nice to be able to reflect on being at a company that offers real prospects of career growth, be that within one practice or moving between them. Personally, I am on a dedicated development plan that is fully supported by senior managers including the Practice Director, to move into a business development role, which is an exciting opportunity for me. I have been supported in this via dedicated coaching and specific training on personal development that has really helped me improve as an employee but also outside of work, which is down to the career support of the Young Professionals group, my team leader and the Practice Director.