In his day job, Matt Rawlins puts the safety of our customers at the top of his list as he carries out essential work as a LiveWest electrician.
Outside of work, Matt swaps wires and drills for harnesses and ropes as a volunteer for the Penzance Coastguard Rescue team.
As the nation celebrates Volunteers Week, which shines the spotlight on the contribution millions have made across the country, we are recognising the lengths Matt goes to in order to keep people safe.
Matt made the decision to become a volunteer for the coastguard four years ago in a bid to give something back to the community he lives in. And he has never looked back.
“I absolutely love it,” said Matt, who has been a LiveWest electrician for the last 18 months.
“Joining the coastguard was always something I wanted to do and it felt like the right time to join.
“I live in Marazion so this was about giving something back to the community in which I live.
“I couldn’t have done it without LiveWest who have showed remarkable flexibility in allowing me to carry out this volunteering work.
“And I couldn’t respond to as many incidents as I do without the support of my line manager and my team who have both been brilliant.
“I am on call with the coastguard 24 hours a day, seven days a week and my pager could go off at any time.
“If it is safe for me to attend, and it fits in with my work schedule and doesn’t affect the customer, I have got permission to do so.
“I carry my coastguard uniform in my van so I am ready and sometimes I am the first person on the scene.
“The positive part for me is seeing positive outcomes. It might be helping someone on a coastal path who has tripped and broken their leg, saving someone who is distressed at the bottom of a cliff or finding someone who has gone missing.
“I couldn’t do any of this without the support from my wonderful wife and daughter.”
During his four years as a land-based volunteer, Matt has been involved in numerous cliff rescues, searches for missing people and saving people who have got into danger in the sea.
Over the past two months Matt has clocked up 82 hours of volunteer time, mainly during his spare time in evenings and at weekends.
As lockdown restricts our movements, Matt has been working with the police in taking part in patrols around the Penzance area to ensure people are social distancing in line with government recommendations.
And in the last few weeks, he has been asked to give safety advice to beach goers as the hot weather draws more people to the coast.
In the last weekend of May, HM Coastguard responded to 447 incidents nationally, making it the busiest weekend of 2020 to date.
Matt added: “People are starting to go the beach again and that brings with it some risks.
“We are seeing a lot more water-based incidents because the weather has been nice and so a lot more people are heading to the beach.
“We have had incidents of children in the sea with inflatables getting dragged around by an offshore wind, people getting into trouble in kayaks and on paddle boards and people taking unnecessary risks.
“So it is nice to be out there making a difference and helping to educate people about water safety while still enjoying themselves.
“We obviously take precautions to combat the risk of coronavirus. We carry out full sanitisation of the vehicles we travel in, wiping down all of the surfaces after every incident.
“We try to limit the amount of team members who attend casualties and we give casualties masks to put on as well as wearing masks ourselves. It is about keeping everybody safe.
“For me, being able to volunteer in this way means everything. If I can make a positive difference to someone’s life, that’s good enough for me.”