By Claire McKim
FOR almost half a century, these firefighting Scots twins have been getting to emergencies on the double.
Identical twins Andrew and David Girrity signed up almost 25 years ago, currently command major fire stations within two miles of each other, and will retire on the same day in 2023.
The pair, who live half a mile apart in Eyemouth, Berwickshire, are both group commanders with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue.
On several occasions during their many years helping to save lives, Andrew and David have turned up to the same 999 calls.
Born just 20 minutes apart, only one thing still separates the 43-year-olds: Andrew supports Hibs and David supports Hearts.
David, the eldest of the two, is in charge of busy Musselburgh station in East Lothian. Two miles away, his twin turns up for work in charge of Newcraighall station, Edinburgh.
Earlier in their careers, they were both lead firefighters based at Edinburgh’s Marionville fire station.
Andrew said: “It is actually quite spooky how similar our careers have been. Davy has always been promoted first and then I will follow, usually within a year or so.
“We have always been competitive, even in our careers. As we have progressed we have both always strived to be promoted and keep up with each other in that way,” he added.
Andrew said that when they were growing up in Eyemouth, neither of them had childhood dreams to be a firefighter. After school they both went in to the building trade, Andrew as a plasterer and David as a builder.
“David joined up part time 24 years ago and I followed shortly after,” said Andrew. “Working at Eyemouth gave both of us the buzz for the job. We saw it as an opportunity to do something different and exciting.”
Andrew added: “Our co-workers find it really confusing. We are well known in the fire brigade as twins and there have been times when people have been working under David and thought it was me and the other way around
“At nursery we used to wear name badges and we are always joking that we need to wear those again now.”
David said: “Andy objects to being called Davy but I don’t mind, I just say hi back if someone shouts the wrong name. I would say about 90% of people get us mixed up.
“At school it was great fun, I would always get all Andy’s girlfriends, he never got any of mine though.”
Andrew said there were advantages to working with a twin in the brigade. He said: “We have worked at a number of incidents together but we are likely to see even more of each other now our stations are so close.
“Most recently we were both at a road traffic accident and it’s actually comforting and definitely an advantage having Davy in the fire brigade as we can discuss work and talk about our work issues on a regular basis. We can relate and talk about anything.
“I enjoy the challenges that you face, whether it working with the public, with your own staff or at an incident. It is a varied job and can be challenging, but always interesting. We have both been lucky not to have been injured or hurt on the job.”
The twins, who are both married, enjoy the same hobbies in their spare time and even used to travel to work together.
“We are very similar in that respect, we both used to play football together and now enjoy going running. You do what you can to stay fit at our age.
“Our main difference is in our personalities as I am more of an introvert and Davy is the extrovert.”
In fact, the main difference between the twins involves Edinburgh’s rival football clubs.
David said: “My whole family, including Andy, are Hibs supporters but when I was growing up a lot of my friends supported Hearts. I used to go with them to Tynecastle and became a Hearts supporter that way; you could say I rebelled from my family at the time.”