Firefighters Karen and Nicola have you seeing double!

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Our recruitment campaign opens today!

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A Scots town could be forgiven for thinking that the same firefighter works around-the-clock to protect them.

Identical twins Karen and Nicola Bennett work different shifts at the same station.

And the 38-year-old’s are so alike that even their own baffled colleagues struggle to tell them apart.

The pair revealed the light-hearted fun as they spoke about their work ahead of a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service national recruitment campaign.

Karen said: “There is always confusion - especially when we have to cover another shift. 

“If someone new comes into the station they think they see us all the time because we are on opposite shifts.  It can drive them demented!

“But we never correct anyone who gets our name wrong.  They wait for us to say which one we are - but there is no fun in that.”

Nicola added: “Our shifts get us mixed up all the time! But we are used to it now and I just answer to Karen.”

And the sisters – who are based at the SFRS station in Dunfermline - are thankful for each other’s support. Nicola said: “It’s so reassuring to have someone you can talk to that understands what kind of a day you have had.”

The mums are so close, in fact, that their lives and careers have mirrored one another.

The Fife natives started their careers doing sports coaching but decided to apply to become firefighters - and joined the service in 2000, just months apart.

And they each have young daughters.

Nicola said: “Karen and I are very close, and we often find ourselves doing the same things without even discussing them.

“We both never felt alone going through the process and that really benefited us.”

Karen agreed: “Knowing that we were both working toward the same thing was encouraging and motivating.

“My sister and I are always connected, no matter what we do in life. Pursuing a career as a firefighter together was no different—we just kept pushing each other.” 

They even got through the tough application process first time around.

Karen admitted: “It was nerve-racking! I kept thinking ‘what if I don’t get through and Nicola does?’ Every stage we managed to get through step by step, supporting each other. It was physically and mentally challenging but we were both determined to get through.”

Nicola added: “We both wanted the job so much.  We worked hard keeping fit and getting advice on how to get through interviews.  We were lucky to get in at our first attempt.”

Family is so important to the sisters and being able to spend time with their daughters, aged four and five, is crucial.

Nicola said: “Working the shift system works great for us.  We can spend time together, as we are on opposite shifts, and can have our family time too. The time we get off and the holidays allow us to be flexible for childcare.”

Karen added: “The job is definitely good for people with young kids.  I can attend school events as well as taking my daughter to school. I also get to spend time with my sister which is an added bonus.”

Both sisters encouraged others to think about signing up with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Karen said: “I would recommend a career as a firefighter.  Every day is different and you get to help people.  There are so many learning opportunities in the service from water rescue to rope rescue.  We have the chance to train in all areas of the fire service - and not every job can say that.”

Nicola pointed out: “People still perceive the fire service as a male dominated career but this is certainly not the case - our shift is like our family.  We work for a great team and I would recommend this career to anyone.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is seeking to recruit up to 200 new firefighters over the next two years.

It is expected 100 will report for duty in 2017 with the option of a further 100 in 2018.

If you are inspired by Karen and Nicola’s story and would like to have a career at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, visit /peoplelikeyou or follow #PeopleLikeYou on social media.

Our recruitment campaign opens on 13 September and everyone has several weeks to apply.

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