Putu Gede, 33, from Denpasar, has been a firefighter for the past eight years. He shared his day with Carla Albertí de la Rosa.
Every time I wake up at 7 in the morning the first thing that comes to my mind is work. I have a stretch, jump into the shower and then go to the fire station in Kunti 2, Seminyak. It takes me 30 minutes to get there by bike from my house in Denpasar.
When I get to work I do some jogging with the firefighter team for about half an hour and we work out doing press-ups and sit-ups. I then have breakfast, usually some chicken, rice and vegetables and I drink some Sprite. I don’t like to drink coffee or tea in the morning, Sprite makes me feel more energetic.
I stay at the station setting up equipment, cleaning, socialising with my colleagues or watching TV, waiting for a fire call. We might get called once a week or we might have to go on a mission three times a week, but there aren’t many fires in Bali.
I work 12-hour shifts, sometimes from 7 in the morning and sometimes from 7 in the evening until morning time. I work four days a week but on some of my days off I might be called in for an emergency, so I have to stick around the area.
We deal with fires in all of Badung regency. Many times calls are false alarms or situations where there is no real emergency. But in real emergency situations we jump on our truck – which holds six of us – and think of what will be awaiting for us. We might have to enter a building that is covered in smoke and has such intense heat it’s not easy to stay focused. We have to wear face masks and move quickly: put the fire out and save people who might be inside the building.
Each day is different and you don’t know what to expect from each fire. The most unforgettable moment in my career as a firefighter was the Bali bombings in 2002. It was very sad to see so many dead people. We carried dozens of bodies out from Paddy’s Pub. I never expected something so horrible could happen here in Bali. But it’s part of the job and it can be very gratifying when you save someone’s life.
I had wanted to be a firefighter since I was 15. I used to watch movies and admire hero firefighters and I wanted to do just that, help people in extreme situations.
If I’m not away putting a fire out I have lunch at 2pm. I go to a small foodstall on the same road as the fire station and order some takeaway chicken with rice. On a normal workday I will either sleep over at the station or will finish at 7pm and go home to spend time with my wife and baby. It’s nice to have dinner with my family and play with my child, and it’s hard when I have to sleep away from home now that I have my first child. But I got used to my routine and I enjoy my job and spending time with the other firefighters; there’s 21 of us and we’re like a big family.
My wife is from Ubud and we spend as much time as possible there visiting her family. It’s good how it feels cooler up there and we can walk around and see some green. Once a week I will drive to Sanur Beach and go jogging for an hour or two. I have to keep fit as it’s important in my job and jogging by the sea is therapy for me. I love the smell of the ocean and it boosts my energy.
I go to bed early, around 9pm. I turn the TV on and watch the news on TVOne until I’m fast asleep shortly after.