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Jason – Humans of Avon and Somerset

I wanted others to experience a new ground beneath their feet, meet new people from very different walks of life, and not only gain experience but give something back as well.

Jason, Special Constable

I joined the Special Constabulary during lockdown, one of the reasons being that I had witnessed the devastating effects of county lines and I wanted to be a part of the solution. This was not my first role in the emergency services – I had previously worked for the fire service for six years as a full-time fire fighter. I really like that emergency services have a cohesion that can allow them to be seen as emergency responders attending together and working as one. Perhaps it’s this love of cohesion and working together, that inspired me to help when I came across a fire station in Nepal.  

My book of life has many chapters, the binder of that book is based upon skydiving. On the surface it’s a thrill seeking, adventure sport that many people will only do once in their lives. I have had the pleasure of it taking me to many countries, meeting like-minded people and sharing the highs and rarely on occasion, the lows. After reaching 2,500 jumps (financing them by myself), I decided to gain my instructor ratings, and discovered I enjoy teaching a sport that helps people overcome fear and focus on the moment. This enabled me to work in skydiving full time after I left the fire service. Settling down with my family in Somerset, I still teach first jump courses known as Accelerated Free Fall and have amounted over 100 hours of airtime plus 6,555 skydives.

Headshot of a male police officer in full uniform.

As well as leaping from airplanes I also like to travel to foreign destinations. For example, India and Nepal. Both are fabulous countries to see, with welcoming people and fascinating cultures. With a family connection, Nepal holds a special significance for me, so it’s remained a place of great importance. It is a land locked country by India and China and as such, there is a constant pressure felt through the society. It is also the world’s 10th poorest country, and can be affected by earthquakes, floods and landslides. Of course it is also home to the Himalayas, Everest, The Holly Lakes, Hinduism, Buddhists and the best Chai in the region. Not forgetting the most humbling of treks, which I try to do every time I visit the country.

Once while trekking with my wife, I stumbled upon a fire station. The station had a truck, a hose and branch used for delivery of water. There was some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), no Road Traffic Collision (RTC) equipment and no breathing apparatus. It was as if a school had been built but contained no table, chairs or books.   

Upon returning to the UK and still being in the fire service at this point, I sought out further PPE which could be donated to the fire station in Nepal. Then, through my skydiving contacts and charity help, I was able to raise funds to purchase used RTC equipment, namely rams, spreaders and cutters. These hydraulic units would be the first four sets of modern RTC equipment that be donated to the country. Since then, a further four sets have now been donated.  

In 2019, I asked a London Fire Brigade Fire Fighter to accompany me to Kathmandu, as it was cheaper to buy an extra airfare and hand deliver the PPE rather than ship it. We did this and completed a short hike called Poon Hill – short in this context meaning four days of thousands of steps. What I underestimated was the effect that the journey would have on my travel companion. The impact of experiencing the worst of London fires, as well as staying behind for more time to help clear the buildings, all came to the surface. I felt privileged that they felt safe with me to disclose this and was also amazed that a trek in a different country was the catalyst for this dialogue. 

As well as donating PPE and RTC equipment, I wanted to contribute to the training of the fire fighters. The first instance was held at New Road Fire Station Kathmandu in 2022, where I and a former colleague trained 68 fire fighters, armed police, traffic police, ambulance and disaster management over a four-day period. The latest training was conducted in March of this year by me in five locations from central Kathmandu towards the East and the highways heading towards Tibbet and China. The reason that all services are included is because historically, an RTC would be dealt with by police or the public with fire service being in attendance for fire. These training sessions are hopefully the first of many.  

The combined experience of not only providing vital equipment, but also seeing the effect on my colleagues while experiencing these new cultures, alongside the impact I was able to make through training, led me to my newest venture. 

I wanted others to experience a new ground beneath their feet, meet new people from very different walks of life, and not only gain experience but give something back as well. My next goal is to open the way for UK emergency service workers to travel to Nepal, to meet their counterparts in the Kathmandu settings, and exchange skills and experience with each other. The immediate next aim is to take a group of emergency service workers to Nepal towards the end of this year, hopefully being the first instance of Trek4Skills.  

Man in blue jumpsuit and green cap demonstrating a piece of equipment to fire fighters