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Tea break: Corina MacInnes

In our regular feature, we join a local for a tea break, and find out how they spend their time - and their time off. This week we welcome Corina MacInnes who recently joined the local Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Corina, please tell us about yourself .

I was brought up in Tarbert and went to Sir E Scott school until I was 16. I then did my last two years of high school at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton before heading to Glasgow to study music. I loved the city, but I started to miss my family at home and the island lifestyle, so I moved back in December 2022 for "a wee while". I started working in the Isle of Harris Distillery in February 2023 and I never went back to Glasgow.

How did you get where you are today?

I started off helping out for a couple of months in the bottling hall before the season kicked off. For the summer, I went to join guest services in the cafe and in the shop. I soon realised that I didn't want to leave after the summer finished and managed to get a full-time position back in the bottling hall! I'm now a bottling operator and I am also part of the distillery's HACCP team.

You have just completed the first part of the training with the local firefighter group. What made you decide to join? I have completed my first course which makes me a safe firefighter, I have my next one in September, but I still have another three years before I complete all my courses.

I love the idea of being a helping hand in the community! Joining the local Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is something that I have wanted to do for years . Now that I am at home and in no rush to leave, I thought it'd be the perfect time to join! Another reason is that the fire stations in Harris are very male-dominated. It would be great to see more women join!

What will your work with firefighters look like?

Tarbert station do a drill night every Monday evening to make sure the equipment is maintained properly and that everyone's skills are kept fresh. There are also some online modules to keep on top of. I have completed training on working with pumps and ladders and have had some training on road traffic collisions. But honestly, I'm not entirely sure what my work will look like as part of the Tarbert team just yet. I still have so much to learn but I am really looking forward to being able to help out in whichever way I can!

How can readers support the group?

There are lots of ways you can help.  First of all, by getting involved yourself and joining as an on-call firefighter. You can attend community fire safety events and request a home safety fire visit. Look out for your neighbour who may be a high fire risk - if they have mobility issues, smoke, are over 50 etc. You can also attend charity car washes at the station and if you are an employer, you can help out by letting your on-call staff off work to attend shouts. 

How do you like to spend your time off?

In my time off, I like to play music and spend time with friends and family. I am a social butterfly and love being in the company of others! 

What are your favourite places on Harris?

My favourite place on Harris depends on the time of year! In the busier months, I like Seilebost beach. I have great memories from when my dad would visit in the summer. We'd spend lots of time down on the sand. In the quieter months, I'd have to say Luskentyre beach is my favourite place to go. When I get there, I like to pay my respects to family members in the cemetery and then take a stroll all along the beach. Often you get the whole place to yourself when the island is quieter which is quite tranquil.

It’s tea break time. What’s on the menu?

Oh, that depends! If I am at home, a cup of tea with a couple of rich teas. If I'm out and about, I would opt for an oat flat white.



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