By Rachel Mackie

TRANENT woman Heather Watt is celebrating her retirement after 40 years with the fire service.

After starting out in the emergency control room at Tollcross in Edinburgh, Heather went on to do six years of training in risk management before then returning to the control room as a systems and data manager.

Heather, 58, of Carlaverock Terrace, said: “My dad John Watt was in charge of the fire station in Tranent so I was raised around fire stations and firemen from when I was about three years old.

“It was all I wanted to do, though being an actual fire officer never really appealed to me as my eyesight isn’t that great, but really it was handling the emergency calls that I was interested in.”

When talking about the emotional strain that taking difficult calls can bring, Heather said: “It’s important to separate yourself completely to deal with traumatic calls, but we’re trained so well you do just learn to live with it.

“There were four or five of us on any given shift, so you could rely on each other to help you through, and just the thought that you were doing good for people really helped.”

Over her 40 years with the fire service, Heather has seen a lot of changes within the service and admits that, although she loved it, she is not sorry to be retiring.

“I’ve seen over five major procedural changes in my time and a new one is just about to come in,” she said.

“It’s a lot of work learning the new systems, so it felt like it was time for a change.

“I’m ready to move onto the next chapter of my life, whatever that may be.”