"People at CERN are great co-workers and become even better friends". Meet Gunnar, firefighter at CERN

Apply! If there is a position you like and feel fits your profile and experience, go for it and give your best.

Hello Gunnar, tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN.

I am a professional firefighter and paramedic from Germany with more than eight years of experience. My passion is helping people and making a difference in their lives and health. Monica Buleandra, Talent Acquisition Specialist at CERN came across my LinkedIn profile and approached me for an open position as a professional firefighter in CERN's fire brigade. I was looking for new opportunities at this time but never looked in the direction of Switzerland, let alone CERN. Monica showed real interest in me as a person and my qualifications as a firefighter and suggested I look at the job advert from CERN as she felt I would be a brilliant fit. The position was indeed exciting: I decided to apply, and following a complex and thorough selection process, I got hired!
What is working at CERN like for you?

I am working as a firefighter in one of the most international fire brigades at CERN in what is a very complex, challenging and interesting environment. It is a great opportunity to learn from other firefighters who come from all over Europe, as well as learning special skills that are specific to such an industrial environment, such as handling cryogenic risks, electrical risks, radiation risks and the complexities that come with such a unique facility as CERN. As a paramedic, I also help people in need at CERN. To handle an accident with sometimes up to six different nationalities, including Swiss or French police and HUG (Geneva Hospital) makes it complicated to say the exact technical term you want and need if French or English is not your mother tongue. Therefore a debriefing is not only important, but also welcomed, to ensure we work efficiently within a diverse team like ours. I enjoy team tasks a lot, we do different trainings, learn techniques and practice sports together, for example, we did an evacuation training in ATLAS where we ran down and up the stairs which is approximately 86 meter in height with a double tank on our backs. This can be exhausting if you do not keep calm, but you can count on the support of your team member
What have been the main hurdles or challenges you encountered along the way?

Apart from waiting for the outcome of the interview, I did not encounter any real challenges in relocating to and settling in at CERN thanks to the great help of my new colleagues and the relocation support provided, notably help in finding a new home. CERN has an international workforce, respectful of diversity and associated individual needs, so newcomers feel welcome. I soon felt integrated and quickly settled in my new environment.
Of course in the Covid-19 Pandemic, as essential workers we had to always be on-site, even if everybody else is in home office, we are there to protect the CERN site against any damage.
What advice would you give potential applicants?

Apply! If there is a position you like and feel fits your profile and experience, go for it and give your best. CERN is great at helping applicants and employees to show their full potential, no matter your background or where you come from. People at CERN are great co-workers and become even better friends.