Ian McKenzie will complete his last shift as a Herts firefighter today after 30 years in the job.
The 52-year-old previously worked in Garston and Rickmansworth, but is now based in Hemel Hempstead, where he has lived all of his life.
He said: “The people I work with are the best part of the job. That’s what makes the job what it is.
“They are doers. They do not sit back and watch, and will always help others and get involved.
“We are all very like-minded people. When something needs doing, we do not ask why. We just do it.”
Speaking from Hemel Hempstead Fire Station in Queensway at the start of the day, he said he plans to ‘relax and watch the world go by’ in his retirement.
Ian now lives in Boxmoor, and has previously lived in Adeyfield, Chaulden and Woodhall Farm – but has never moved out of Hemel Hempstead.
He makes no bones about how tough being a firefighter can be – and is looking forward to a more relaxing time in the town in the years to come.
He said: “The toughest part of the job is dealing with people’s loss. Sometimes you see people who are related to people who have passed away and that can be quite tough.
“Your uniform is your safety barrier.”
There are some parts of the job he will not miss. He said: “You are there to pick up the pieces and sweep up when it has gone wrong.
“You are only there, because someone else is losing something big.”
Before each crew of firefighters begins their shift, they are given an official debriefing.
Watch Ian get his last one in a video on our websites www.hemeltoday.co.uk, www.berkhamstedtoday.co.uk and www.tringtoday.co.uk