Amanzimtoti fire fighter relocates to Cape Town
Amanzimtoti fire fighter and paramedic Stu Jeacocks is swapping his NDM registered fire engine for one with a Cape Town registration number. The 36-year-old acting station commander is moving to Goodwood in Cape Town, where he will be promoted to station commander. Over the past four years he has moved between Umlazi, Toti, Mobeni, Umkomaas and Durban Central stations wherever he was needed as acting commander but will work his last shift on 20 October 2019 at Toti where his career began 10 years ago.
If it’s true that three of the most stressful things a person can go through in their lifetime are moving house, changing jobs and having a baby, it doesn’t seem to be worrying Stu. In fact he has added even more stress, as his wife Kimberley is expecting twins! All this while he is finishing up studying for his diploma in fire science, which he graduates from on Friday, 4 October 2019.
Jeacocks was born in Toti and did his schooling at Twini Primary and Kingsway High School. He travelled overseas for four to five years and he met Kimberley, who is also from Toti and returned from exploration across the pond, on his return in 2010. They married in 2015 and have a beautiful daughter Hannah, who turns six next month.
“We are expecting our twins on the 22nd, Hannah’s birthday is on the 28th and the next day I fly out. It is going to be a stressful time but we have an excellent support structure from both our families, so I’m not too worried. It’s all about balance and a good support structure. Life is very exciting at the moment.”
Fire is in his blood, his father Alan is a fire safety officer who was based at Toti but has been involved in the municipality’s clean-up of Isipingo in the last two years. His uncle Phillip Wright was deputy chief at Toti and another uncle, Shaun Morrison, is a deputy director in Johannesburg. His grandfather was a fire fighter in Johannesburg in the 80s and his great grandfather was also a fire safety officer.
Following in their footsteps, Stu started his fire training with eThekwini in 2010 and was on the job six months later while continuing with training. “I’ve always liked to help people. With my dad in the job, it was much easier to get an insight into what being a fireman is. I like the diversity of fire and rescue, everyday is different and you never know what your day is going to bring.”
Another side to Jeacocks - and this is where many would have met him or owe their lives to him, is the paramedic. He has been a voluntary paramedic for six to seven years and a vital part of the good work Voluntary Emergency Medical Assistance (VEMA) paramedics do in Toti for almost five years. “You have to be a medic as part of your fire safety training and I just love medical and learning about the human body. The experience I have gained with being a voluntary medic is next to none and I felt it would be a good way to give back to my community.”
Fireman and paramedic are both high burn-out occupations, so Jeacocks de-stresses by spending quality time with his family and friends or grabbing his surfboard, although he ruefully admits that hasn’t happen very often lately.
“Knowing that you have made a difference is what keeps me and a lot of us at the fire station going. The positives outweigh the negatives and that’s what drives us. Leaving will be a bitter-sweet moment for me, especially coming from such a small community like Toti. The good thing is I’m walking into a job I know. The first few months will be difficult, because it is a new environment but I’m excited for the challenge.
“It’s fitting that I started and will end at Toti, especially as my dad was here and when I walk down the hall and see all the old photos, it touches home. I grew up on the station and we lived here for a number of years, so it’s sentimental that I started and will finish off here. I’m not too worried about going to the Cape in their fire season, as I know I’m going into good hands and guys who have experience, and Goodwood is an excellent brigade.”
Asked what he will miss about Toti, Jeacocks replied, “Winter! We will miss our family and friends and definitely the awesome weather in Toti. I will miss the community that we have come to know. Volunteering in the community has kept me busy, so I will have to look for something similar where we are going. It has been an absolute pleasure to be of assistance to the community of Toti and I’m excited to start this new chapter of our lives.”
Source: South Coast Sun