Lifting ducklings from sewers and rescuing cats from trees are some of the more unusual jobs firefighters have to undertake.
After 30 years of saving lives, Colin Porter, of Woodside, Watford, is retiring from Stanmore Fire Station, in Honeypot Lane.
The 54-year-old will leave the station on May 31 after working for red watch in Stanmore for 27 years.
He said: "It has been a superb, so many things have changed from the uniform to how we work.
"The best thing is the cameraderie with the people who work here. It's hard at times, but they make the job highly enjoyable."
After joining the fire service in 1978, Mr Porter worked in Ealing and St Albans before joining Stanmore in 1985, where he has had his fair share of strange rescue calls.
Mr Porter said: "One funny job that sticks in my mind was rescuing six ducklings from a sewer in Uxbridge Road, Stanmore.
"A man came up to us and said that he could hear ducks, we thought he may have just had one too many at the pub, but after we lifted the lid we found the animals. We got them out and they waddled away again."
He has seen many sad and horrific incidents, from families dying in house fires to a young boy celebrating his birthday being killed in a road traffic accident.
He said: "When you go to a tough call you get back and everyone's quiet, but you have to get on with it. If you dwelled on these things you wouldn't be in the job for too long."
For the veteran firefighter, he still finds it difficult dealing with prank calls. He said: "You just think that there might be another emergency call and if you are at this one you can't get to it. It could be the difference between life and death."
Working at the station has been rewarding for Mr Porter, as he has had the opportunity to help those less fortunate than himself.
He said: "I have done a lot of charity work, for the last four years - I've been Santa on our Christmas sleigh handing out presents to children."
Mr Porter plans to continue working part-time for an office furniture company, but has hung up his firefighters' equipment for good.